The latest attempt to legalize daily fantasy sports in Alabama ended quietly last week in the state’s legislature.
Alabama’s Senate declined to bring the legislation up for a floor vote last week. That effectively ends any chance of the state legalizing DFS this year, according to the Alabama Political Report. The state is one of several where most paid-entry fantasy operators avoid because of the legal climate.
Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), sponsored the bill — S 325 — but admitted earlier in the session he did not expect it to pass. Sanford said when he introduced the bill that he was doing so to make the point that fantasy sports should not be illegal.
Sanford’s bill would have exempted DFS from gambling law
Under the legislation, established operators like DraftKings and FanDuel would have paid an $85,000 registration fee to become licensed operators in Alabama. New and smaller operators would pay $5,000 to register.
The legislation also would have set up regulation of the operators for consumer protection. It would have set the minimum age to participate at 19. The bill’s failure leaves Alabama as one of nine states that both DraftKings, FanDuel and most other DFS sites don’t serve.
This is the second time Sanford’s efforts to legalize DFS fell short of passage. A 2017 bill sponsored by Sanford died in the closing days of the legislative session. A bill in 2015 also did not become law.
Sanford plans to retire, leaving an uncertain future for DFS legislation in Alabama. He told local reporters following the death of the bill that fantasy sports are more a means to enjoy camaraderie among friends than a money-making endeavor.
Fantasy out of Alabama since 2016 decision
Attorney General Luther Strange basically put an end to DFS in Alabama in 2016. Strange issued cease-and-desist orders to DraftKings and FanDuel, and both pulled out of the state prior to the attorney general’s deadline for doing so.
At the time, Strange issued a press release contending that DFS contests amount to illegal activity in the state:
“As Attorney General, it is my duty to uphold Alabama law, including the laws against illegal gambling. Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they operate legally under Alabama law. However, paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law.”
In 2017, Strange received an appointment to the United States Senate from Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions, who was appointed US Attorney General by President Donald Trump. Strange lost the following primary election to Roy Moore. Moore in turn lost to Democrat Doug Jones in a special election.