Virginia has become the first US state to pass specific regulations for daily fantasy sports (DFS) after Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the legislation into law.
Following the passage of House Bill 775 and Senate Bill 646, the Virginia legislature has established the Fantasy Contests Act, which officially permits fantasy sports operators to run paid contests in the state. It specifically decriminalises DFS, stating that it any prize money awarded from contests “shall not be deemed part of any gaming contract.”
Operators are required to register with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and pay a $50,000 fee to cover the cost of regulating the sector.
Each bill was passed with strong support from the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House bill passed with 79 votes in favour and 19 against, while 28 Senators supported the legislation and 10 voted against.
Operators that break the terms of the legislation face a fine of up to $1,000, to be paid into the State Literary Fund, while the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is to be granted investigative powers to identify suspected breaches.
The passage of the bill has been hailed by market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings’ director of public affairs Griffin Finan said: “Today, Virginia became the first state in the nation this year to put in place a thoughtful and appropriate regulatory framework to protect the rights of fantasy players.
“We thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership and advocacy and are hopeful that other states across the country will follow Virginia’s lead,” he said. “We will continue to work actively to replicate this success with dozens of legislatures and are excited to continue these efforts.”
FanDuel counsel for policy and government affairs Cory Fox thanked Virginia for showing real leadership in being the first state to pass DFS regulations, adding that he hoped to see more states follow suit.
While it is unclear when the application process will be established, the law states that responses to applications must be issued within sixty days of submission.