Bills to regulate daily fantasy sports contests gather momentum in the US

After Virginia became the first US state to formally legalise fantasy sports contests, a number of other states have also made progress this week on legislation to regulate the burgeoning industry.

A bill has been introduced in Iowa by Jake Highfill (SF166 – a successor to SSB1068)) which would amend state law to authorize the paying of awards and prizes to participants in fantasy sports contests. The state’s Racing and Gaming Commission will have full jurisdiction over the contests.

As part of the bill, the department of Inspections and Appeals will conduct a study, beginning no earlier than July 1st 2016, concerning the impact of defining fantasy or simulation sports contests as a bona fide contest.

The department will solicit input from licensees regulated by the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission, individuals involved in gambling treatment programmes, DFS providers, and other interested stakeholders. The department will submit its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by December 1st.

Several bills have also been introduced in Minnesota, with HF2509 clarifying that fantasy or simulation sports games do not constitute a bet. It was introduced by Representative Bob Barrett and has been referred to the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee.

Meanwhile, HF2540 authorises fantasy sports and has also been referred to the state’s Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee. The bill was introduced by Representative Tim Sanders and had its first reading this week. A third bill, HF2416, introduced by Representative Joe Atkins, also seeks to authorize fantasy sports contests and has been referred to the same Committee.

In Tennessee, legislation which would see the creation of an advisory task force to study fantasy sports was placed on the calendar to be heard by the House Business and Utilities Committee and the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee next week.

HB2105 (together with companion bill SB2109) calls on the task force to recommend any necessary statutory revisions to the state’s consumer protection laws.

The bill would introduce the Fantasy Sports Contest Act of 2016 by creating the Tennessee Fantasy Sports Commission for the purpose of regulating fantasy sports contests, administratively within the Office of the Secretary of State.

The Commission will be comprised of five members: one member appointed by the Governor, two members appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, and two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The task force will report its findings and recommendations by no later than January 1st, 2017.

Finally, Connecticut is also considering regulating the fantasy sports industry with a legislative committee forwarding SB192, which requires the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to adopt regulations to protect consumers who play contests for prizes. It would prohibit operators from allowing players under the age of twenty-one to play any DFS contests.



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