Texas continues to be priority for DFS giants DraftKings, FanDuel
Legal Sports Report

Texas Senator Takes Aim At Legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports

Texas DFS senate bill
The daily fantasy sports industry is continuing to take its best shot at gaining legal clarity in Texas, as a state senator introduced a new bill.

The news in Texas for DFS

State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst introduced S 1970, which would legalize and regulate DFS in the state. The legislation from the Republican lawmaker would put in place basic consumer protections like those found in laws enacted in a variety of states in 2016.

“Texans love sports and their freedom, which is why I filed Senate Bill 1970, so that we can ensure fantasy sports are legal in Texas,” said Sen. Kolkhorst, according to a release from the Texas Fantasy Sports Alliance. “I am a longtime advocate for personal freedoms and limited government.

“We must protect our liberties and rights, and that includes our ability to play a game of skill that millions of Texans already enjoy. Fantasy sports add to the experience of watching your favorite team, and I’m excited to work with my fellow lawmakers and the sports fans all across Texas to pass this legislation.”

The history of DFS in Texas

Bills have surfaced in about half of the states in the US dealing with DFS. However, most of them pale in comparison to the importance of Texas.

It’s a state with a very murky climate. FanDuel does not take customers there, while DraftKings still does. The uncertainty came in the wake of a legal opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton more than a year ago.

Texas is one of a variety of jurisdictions looking at clearing up any ambiguity in the law as it pertains to DFS.

The other DFS effort in Texas

Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, a Democrat, brought forth his own bill in February, with much the same aim as the new Senate bill.

The Dallas Morning News chronicled some of the potential problems the bill might run into.

Texas has never really considered DFS regulation, as the legislature was not in session last year. The stakes are high in Texas because the statehouse only meets every two years. That means an unsuccessful effort this year would put legalization off until 2019.

It’s not clear what DraftKings and FanDuel would do about the state after a planned merger takes place.

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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.