All Current Daily Fantasy Sports Operators Unlikely To Apply For Gaming Licenses
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings, FanDuel Shut Out Of Nevada? Governor Says “No Need For Changes”

DraftKings FanDuel out of Nevada
The possibility of DraftKings, FanDuel or any other daily fantasy sports site reentering Nevada appears to be growing dim.

‘No need for changes’ for DFS

The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee discussed daily fantasy sports briefly at a meeting on Wednesday morning. Gov. Brian Sandoval indicated that the current regulatory scheme for gaming does not need to be tweaked for DFS.

“On this day, there really is no need for changes to Nevada law,” Sandoval said.

Most of the NGPC appeared to agree with that sentiment at the meeting. The committee includes gaming regulators, lawmakers and executives from gaming companies in the state. It will not make any formal recommendations to the state legislature about DFS.

The committee was also planning to talk about esports later in the meeting.

The backstory of DFS and Nevada

All DFS operators exited the state in 2015. That happened after the state attorney general and the Nevada Gaming Control Board came to the conclusion that DFS was gambling under state law.

Only one company — USFantasy — has applied for and received a license to operate a DFS-style pari-mutuel game. It now operates in more than 40 Nevada sportsbooks.

State regulators have said that DFS operators could apply for gaming licenses in the state.

The committee had met twice before regarding DFS this year, without coming to conclusions. It was clear, especially at the second meeting, that the committee was not enamored with the industry’s two biggest players, FanDuel and DraftKings.

Before Wednesday’s meeting, there was at least a chance that accommodations would be made to allow the DFS industry, as currently situated, into the state.

What’s next in Nevada for DFS?

In what is a widespread misconception, DFS is not illegal in Nevada, currently. It merely requires a license — like all forms of gaming in the state.

However, it’s extremely unlikely and existing operator will apply for such a license. That’s because of the legal implications of being termed “gambling” in a US jurisdiction. DFS generally operates as a “game of skill” in most jurisdictions, including in states that passed laws this year.

It’s at least possible that a legislative effort regarding DFS will crop up in the statehouse. But without the support of Sandoval, the chances of such a bill gaining traction are minimal.

The casino industry also appears unwilling to allow DFS into the state with a lower barrier to entry — i.e. less regulation and taxation.

It all adds up to an impasse between the DFS industry and the gaming capital of the US.

Statement from DFS operators

Marc La Vorgna, speaking as a spokesperson for DraftKings and FanDuel, offered the following statement to Legal Sports Report:

“We appreciate the consideration and thoughtful conversations with members of the Committee, the Gaming Control Board and the Governor, but unfortunately we were unable to come to an agreement with the Gaming Policy Committee.

“The committee gave us an opportunity to engage in an exploration of what regulated fantasy sports could look like in Nevada and we fully embraced the process. While we cannot move forward with an agreed upon solution for the legislature to consider today, we remain committed to an open dialogue with Nevada and its leaders and hope a solution can be reached. 

“To be clear, we firmly believe fantasy sports should be regulated. This year, eight states have passed a law affirming fantasy sports are legal and establishing a regulatory framework, and dozens of other states are moving in the same direction. We are hopeful Nevada soon joins that list and we want to thank Governor Sandoval for the opportunity to participate in the committee’s work.”

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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.