What Is Happening In The Eight States That Passed Fantasy Sports Laws This Year?

Posted on October 11, 2016

[toc]In 2016, eight states passed laws that legalized and regulated daily fantasy sports. That came after 2015, in which Kansas was the only state to legalize DFS.

Those eight states are all in various stages of implementing oversight of the DFS industry. Here’s a quick look at where they stand, and which operators plan to serve those states:

Virginia

Virginia became the first state to regulate DFS back in March.

That law included a $50,000 registration fee, which many figured would keep most operators out of the market. That’s been about half true. DraftKings and FanDuel, the two biggest DFS operators, have temporary permits with the state via the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (More on VDACS’ oversight of the industry here.)

Another DFS operator, FantasyDraft, is also in Virginia. A start-up called Eagle Strike, which operates fantasy sports kiosks, also has a permit. Despite not appearing on a list of temporary permit holders, Legal Sports Report also understands that Yahoo applied for a license in Virginia.

Virginia, like most states, is working to implement DFS regulation from scratch, aside from the wording in the law.

Indiana

Indiana was the second state to legalize DFS in 2016, but it’s also been taking things relatively slow.

Indiana has the same $50,000 licensing fee that Virginia has, but so far, far more sites have been interested in applying in the Hoosier State. Here is the list, per the Indiana Gaming Commission:

  • Fanamana
  • STATS, LLC
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • Yahoo
  • US Fantasy
  • iPro
  • CDM Sports
  • Boom Fantasy
  • Casino Fantasy Network and Fantasy Sports Gaming Network
  • Real Time Fantasy Sports
  • DraftDay
  • DRAFT
  • FantasyDraft

Why the disparity? That’s not entirely clear, as Virginia actually has a bigger population. This might have something to do with the increased interest in Indiana:

Of course, how many of the above sites actually end up in Indiana, when all is said and done.

Tennessee

Tennessee is currently operating under “emergency rules” through much of December before putting final regulations in place.

The Secretary of State, which oversees fantasy sports in Tennessee, has not published a list of applicants or registrants. The relatively low hurdle of a 6 percent tax on gross revenue likely means most major operators will attempt to serve the Tennessee market.

Mississippi

Under the purview of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the barrier to entry is extremely low. Sites must only register with the state and abide by the terms of a law enacted earlier this year.

The law is a stopgap while the state considers what to do with DFS long-term, as the law repeals itself next summer.

Missouri

Applications are still pending with the gaming commission in Missouri, which has the highest effective tax — in some cases more than 20 percent of gross revenue — of any state listed here. But despite that high hurdle, six different operators have applied:

  • CDM Sports
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FantasyDraft
  • iTEAM Network
  • RealTime Fantasy Sports

Missouri, despite being later to passing a law than other states, has in many ways has had the most robust rule-making in implementing a fantasy sports law.

Colorado

The barrier to entry in Colorado, much like in Mississippi, is quite low as of now; there are no taxes prescribed by law.

The Office of Fantasy Contest Operator Registration and Licensure has put forth draft rules; licensure and registration in Colorado is not mandatory until July of next year, according to the office’s website.

New York

New York was the biggest win for the DFS industry when a law was enacted this summer.

Temporary permits have been issued to these operators, to date:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Yahoo
  • FantasyDraft
  • Draft
  • iTeam Network
  • DraftDay
  • letsRUMBL
  • Fantasy Aces

The state is still working on vetting full applications.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the most recent state to pass a law, although it was simply piggy-backing off of regulations promulgated by Attorney General Maura Healey.

There is no registration process in the commonwealth, but operators accepting customers there are expected to comply with the AG’s regulations.

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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.

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