The daily fantasy sports industry notched a win in a state legislature on Wednesday, albeit a relatively minor one.
What happened in Mississippi for DFS
The Mississippi statehouse officially passed a piece of legislation legalizing and regulating paid-entry fantasy sports. H 967 passed the Senate on Feb. 9 and the House today. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant, who is expected to sign it.
The bill is not a major victory only in that the state already enacted a law dealing with DFS last year. However, that bill had a sunset provision than ran out on July 1. Had the legislature not passed a new law, the old law would have expired.
Under previous state law, the attorney general had opined that DFS constitutes illegal gambling. DraftKings, FanDuel and other DFS operators had left the state for a time, before the law had been passed.
A glance at the MS DFS bill
What’s in the bill? It’s much like many fantasy spots laws that were enacted last year.
- Explicitly legalizes fantasy contests with an entry fee.
- Gives oversight authority to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
- Provides for a licensing fee that costs an operator $5,000 over three years.
- Taxes operators’ revenue generated in Mississippi at a rate of eight percent.
- Outlines consumer protections such as: Ban on employee play at operators; establishes a minimum age of 18 for users; creates provisions relating to security of contest data and segregation of player funds from operational funds.
Under the old law, sites simply had to register with the state; there was no tax or licensing fee.
The segregation of player funds is a major topic in the DFS industry after a site declared bankruptcy after losing more than a million dollars of its players’ funds.
Mississippi just one of many battlegrounds for DFS
While Mississippi passing legislation was nearly expected after last year’s success, there are higher stakes in other states. Nearly half of the states in the US have active bills dealing with fantasy sports.
The current legal climate for these states vary wildly, from states where DFS operators have pulled out to jurisdictions where DFS was already considered to be legal.
One of the biggest legislative priorities is Texas, where DraftKings operates but FanDuel does not.