Bill Will Suit DraftKings And FanDuel, But Unclear For Other Operators
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Legal Sports Report

Daily Double: Missouri Governor Joins Colorado In Signing Fantasy Sports Bill

Missouri Fantasy Sports Law

Missouri became the second state to enact a fantasy sports regulatory bill into law in the space of a day, as Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Colorado’s governor signed a bill overseeing the daily fantasy sports industry. In addition to these two states, IndianaVirginiaTennessee and Mississippi have also enacted fantasy sports laws this year.

Missouri DFS bill = law

The bill being signed by Nixon — H 1941 — was first reported by The Missouri Times. Nixon’s office also issued a press release on the new law:

“When a new frontier of online betting is available at the touch of a screen, we have a responsibility to protect consumers and young people,” Gov. Nixon said. “I appreciate the General Assembly for answering my call to bring forward common-sense consumer protection to make sure fantasy sports gaming in Missouri is operated responsibly and with accountability.”

The legislature passed the bill on May 12. The law is set to take effect on August 28.

What’s in the Missouri DFS bill?

Here is a quick look at some of the provisions in the law:

  • DFS is put under the purview of the Missouri Gaming Commission. The MGC will “will exercise broad regulatory authority over the operators of fantasy sports sites,” according to Nixon.
  • An annual licensing fee is set of the lesser of “annual application fee of ten thousand dollars or ten percent of the applicant’s net revenue [based only on players in Missouri].”
  • A tax on net revenue generated in the state is established at 11.5 percent.
  • Operators must complete an annual audit with a third party.
  • DFS contests cannot be based on amateur athletic competitions, including college sports.
  • A minimum age of 18 is set for online fantasy sports players.
  • The bill institutes consumer protections such as the segregation of player funds from operational funds; creating a procedure for player complaints; allowing players to self-exclude; and provisions to prevent advertising to minors.

The fee and tax structure may keep some operators other than DraftKings and FanDuel out of the state. The law creates an effective tax of 21.5 percent on small seasonlong and DFS operators, a number many of them have decried as being too high in the past.

The backstory on Missouri and DFS

Missouri’s statehouse took up the issue of DFS faster than a lot of states, introducing legislation at the end of 2015.

Nixon is one of the few governors in the country who had taken an active interest in DFS before a bill hit his desk.

In the winter, he said he wanted legislation to create revenue in the form of taxes, and that the industry treated more like the regulated gambling industry. While he got his wish on the former, and the MGC overseeing the industry seems to have gotten the bill closer to the latter.

What’s next on the legislative front for DFS?

With bills becoming law in Missouri and Colorado, the number of states that seem poised to act this year has shrunk to less than a handful.

New YorkPennsylvania and New Jersey are all actively considering legislation.

Other states could get back into the mix, like in Illinois, where a legislative effort failed.

Photo by Mark Schierbecker used under license CC BY-SA 2.0

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.