Daily fantasy sports industry eyes battles in more important states
Legal Sports Report

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Signs New Fantasy Sports Law Into Effect

Mississippi DFS Phil Bryant
Mississippi officially has a new fantasy sports law on the books. Gov. Phil Bryant made his state the first to pass such a law in 2017; eight states enacted laws regarding daily fantasy sports in 2016.

Mississippi was actually one of those eight states, but last year’s law was a temporary provision that expired this year.

What happened in Mississippi for DFS

Bryant’s signature on Monday came after the state legislature approved the bill at the start of the month.  The legislation made it easily through the state House and Senate this year.

The new law follows the effort in 2016 in which the state legalized DFS in the wake of the attorney general saying DFS was illegal gambling. That law, however, had a sunset provision that would have taken the law off the books in July.

Almost all major operators served the state under the 2016 law. Most of them are likely to stay in the state under the new law, which includes a licensing fee that costs $5,000 over three years and a tax of eight percent of revenue generated in the state.

DFS operators DraftKings, FanDuel, FantasyDraft and Yahoo DFS will almost certainly register in Mississippi under the new law.

The states where DFS is explicitly legal

Mississippi was one of a number of states that passed legislation that explicitly legalized and regulated DFS in recent years. The others:

  • Colorado (2016)
  • Indiana (2016)
  • Virginia (2016)
  • Tennessee (2016)
  • New York (2016)
  • Missouri (2016)
  • Massachusetts (2016)
  • Maryland (2012, the legality of its law has been questioned by the state’s attorney general.)
  • Kansas (2015, only legalized paid-entry fantasy sports)

Bigger fish to fry for DFS

Mississippi’s new law is certainly a win for the DFS industry. The alternative — going back to a state law where legal clarity is murky at best — would be less than optimal.

But still, the focus of the industry is passing laws in states where laws are not on the books regarding fantasy sports. The biggest of those is Texas, where a legislative battle is poised to take place this year.

The industry would also like to turn around states where DFS is illegal or where other negative AG opinions exist — much like the industry did in Mississippi.

Image: Gov. Phil Bryant

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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.