Bill Haslam has ratified legislation that legalises daily fantasy sports (DFS)
in the state, after the bill was unanimously passed by the state’s House and
Senate Bill 2109, the
Fantasy Sports Contest Act, establishes an advisory taskforce to study the
game. It also creates the Tennessee Fantasy Sports Commission, a division
within the Office of the Secretary of State, which takes responsibility for
Operators must secure
a licence or face prosecution for activity in the state, and will
will be subject to a 6 per cent tax on net revenue.
DFS competitions will
be restricted to players over the age of 18 with a maximum monthly deposit
limit of $2,500.
The bill also
establishes consumer protections, ensuring that data is secure, employees are
banned from playing, problem gambling controls are enforced, and introduces new
regulations for advertising.
SB2109 was signed by
the Governor after being passed by the Senate, with 27 votes in favour and two
against, while the house variant, HB2105, was passed with 67 votes in favour
and 17 against.
support for DFS regulation in the Tennessee legislature comes despite the
state’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery issuing an opinion earlier this month
in which he ruled the
game to be a form of illegal gambling.
Slatery said that
fantasy sports contests fall within the broad definition of “gambling” under
Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-501(1). He explained that with tournament
entry fees, players were putting something of value at risk, with their chances
of winning contingent on an element of chance outside their control, making it
a form of gambling rather than a game of skill.
However, with Haslam
signing SB2109 into law, his opinion has effectively been overruled, with the
new legislation set to come into force from July 1st.
The move was welcomed
by DraftKings. The DFS giant said in a statement: “Today, Tennessee became yet
another state to enact a regulatory framework that allows residents to continue
playing the games they love.
“We thank Governor
Haslam for his leadership and the members of the legislature, especially
Representative Pat Marsh and Senator Jack Johnson, who provided tireless
guidance on this important issue. We will continue to work with legislators in
other states across the country to implement appropriate consumer protections
for our fans.”