Maine Considering DFS Regulations

by Jim Hall

Maine State SealAcross the United States, the daily fantasy sports industry is a hot topic of debate. Individual states like Maine are considering whether to regulate the industry with new legislation, deem the activity illegal or leave the industry as-is.

In the past, when it comes to online gambling options, the main subjects up for discussion were casino and poker gaming. States across the US have been discussing such activities for some time now, choosing to create legislation or consider implementing regulations to benefit from such activities. However, now it seems that legislators are looking away from casino and poker gaming for the moment and focusing more on the daily fantasy sports industry.

There is no real reason as to why DFS has become such a hot topic of debate but nevertheless, it is! The daily fantasy sports industry has operated for some time in the United States with such brands as DraftKings and FanDuel offering the contests each day based on popular sports such as football. Members of the sites create teams and hope their players do well to earn prizes. Late last year, Attorney Generals across the US began to dissect the activity, with many ruling DFS as illegal gambling.

Skill or Chance?

The main argument of debate seems to be whether or not DFS is considered an activity of skill or chance. The same has been argued about poker with legislation put in place in states who feel the activity is one of skill. Many Attorney Generals have ruled that the activity is one of chance which falls into the category of gambling. Thus, the activity has been ruled as illegal within several states.

Despite such states as New York ruling DFS as illegal gambling, the very same states are now working on legislation to legalize the industry. New York was one of the most recent to pass legislation to put consumer protections in place as well as regulations that must be followed by the DFS operators. It seems the MO for individual states is to rule DFS illegal then create legislation to legalize the activity as legislators see fit, charging licensing fees or for operations.

Maine in the Mix

Now it seems that the state of Maine is considering the industry, with legislators taking a closer look at legalization. According to the Bangor Daily News, a meeting recently took place between DFS operators and lawmakers of the state during the National Conference of State Legislatures, an event that took place in Chicago. Discussions were made in regards to possibly regulating fantasy sports gambling in the state.

Legislators believe that DFS deserves a closer look in regards to regulations to help protect the state government as well as players. State Senator Roger Katz recently submitted a bill title to be considered during the next session. This would scrutinize the issues in regards to regulation of daily fantasy sports. Katz does not have to submit a proposal in detail until the session begins. The senator is questioning as to whether or not there should be some regulation of the leagues to make sure of consumer protections as well as consider if the activity is a possible revenue source for the state.

State Representative Matt Pouilot is also on board with looking at DFS contests. He was at the meeting and felt that players in Maine need protection in place. Janet Mills, the AG of Maine, stated that legislators need to decide as to if DFS is a game of skill or chance when creating a regulatory bill. Additional issues also need to be explored according to Mills. This includes how much can be wagered, who would be allowed to take part and disclaimers to reveal the odds of winning from participating in the activity.