Daily Fantasy Sports’ Latest Legislative Defeat: Alabama Regulation Bill Comes Up Short

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Alabama fantasy sports 2017

The tide never turned for a daily fantasy sports bill in Alabama.

As a result, DraftKings, FanDuel and the rest of the paid-entry fantasy sports industry is likely to continue to stay out of the state for the foreseeable future.

No vote on DFS bill in Alabama

The Alabama legislature adjourned its session on Friday night. That adjournment did not come with a vote in the state Senate on a bill (H 354) that would have legalized and regulated paid-entry fantasy in the state.

There had been action on the bill on Wednesday — including amendments — but the bill never came up for a vote.

Given the contentious nature of debate in the House and a razor-thin margin on a vote in that chamber, the inaction in the Senate isn’t that shocking. (The House also provided this comical moment where a state representative threatened to out lawmakers who bet on college football games.)

An attempt to legalize DFS in Alabama in 2016 also came up short.

While the legislature appears likely to reconvene for a special session this year, that is likely only to deal with the singular issue of the state’s prisons.

Why Alabama would have been a big deal

Much of the DFS industry had pulled out of the state just over a year ago. That came after then Attorney General Luther Strange told DraftKings and FanDuel to cease and desist in the state. He opined that DFS is illegal gambling under state law.

The industry turned around negative climates in New York, Tennessee and Mississippi in 2016 with new fantasy sports laws. It was hopeful that it could add Alabama to that list of victories.

Alabama isn’t that big of a state — with just under 5 million people. But the industry is in the business of increasing its pool of prospective users in any way it can.

It hasn’t been the best year for fantasy sports bills so far

It’s clear at this point that momentum from 2016 — when eight states passed laws expressly legalizing DFS — hasn’t exactly carried over to this year.

The only new state added to the list with DFS laws is Arkansas. Mississippi also enacted a new DFS law, but that was merely replacing a law set to sunset this year.

Meanwhile, things have gone poorly in more high-profile states like Texas and Florida, as bills failed to reach the finish line. There has been little movement for a DFS bill in the biggest state with a negative legal climate — Illinois — but there is still hope the legislature will act this month before adjourning.

There are also states likely to enact new laws this year, including Vermont and Ohio, among others. But the rush to legalize DFS is not quite the same as we saw a year ago.

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