Legislation Efforts for DFS Continue in the United States

by Jim Hall

Daily Fantasy SportsAfter having faced adversity, the daily fantasy sports industry seems to be on the upswing in the United States as several individual states are considering regulations.

2015 was not a good year for daily fantasy sports in the United States. DFS operators were shut out of several states towards the end of the year as Attorney Generals began to view the industry as one that was to be considered illegal gambling. Such operators as FanDuel and DraftKings began legal battles and were losing money as they had to shut down operations in New York and other states.

However, now things seem to be turning around. After 2016 began and other states ruled the activity illegal, legislation began to be created to regulate the industry within individual states. DFS operators could see the light at the end of the tunnel and now eight states have passed laws to formally legalize and regulate DFS. New York is included in this group, the state that started the whole trend.

Now, lawmakers are looking ahead and in 2017, we should see even more states moving forward with similar legislation to regulate the industry within their own borders.

States in the Running

There are several states looking at DFS legislation currently, including Illinois. The state has looked at DFS legislation in the past with a measure introduced by Representative Mike Zalewski but not moving forward after the spring session. The representative is still trying and will probably take a stab at regulation efforts during the next session.

The state of Iowa is also in the mix, and interestingly enough, is a state where DFS has always been illegal. State Senator Jeff Danielson has shown interest in sponsoring a measure that will legalize the industry in the state and plans on discussing the option with lawmakers this January. Also looking to discuss the industry next year is Texas.

Even New Mexico is in the mix, with House Majority Leader Nate Gentry talking about daily fantasy sports. Gentry tried to see legislation pass last sessions but was unsuccessful. The Gaming Control Board of the state has a view that the contests are illegal so it may take some major discussions to see any changes made.

Turn Around

The turnaround by the states has been significant for the daily fantasy sports industry. Operators had been able to provide services for customers for some time without any interference by the government. It was a shock to the operators to see state after state shutting them down and having to take legal action to try and remain in operation.

Every state that has passed legalization and regulations for the industry has been praised by DraftKings, FanDuel and other operators. The DFS companies want to be able to provide services without fear of prosecution or other issues when it comes to operations. For now, the daily fantasy sports industry seems to be a turning point that is definitely in their favor.

This Year Moving Forward

For the remainder of 2016, there are still DFS goings on. The state of Pennsylvania could be considering regulation of the industry this fall along with additional gambling options. Michigan just had a new bill introduced this month that may see the state offering regulations. These are the major movements remaining in the US for this year’s legislation sessions.

Overall, DFS is doing well and will continue to be considered by other states when 2017 begins. It will be interesting to see which states actually pass legislation as part of overall online gambling legislation or as a standalone bill.