Indiana Lawmaker Eyes Revival Of Daily Fantasy Sports Bill

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Indiana Fantasy Sports

An Indiana lawmaker has said he wants to reintroduce a bill that would authorize the state’s gaming interests to offer daily fantasy sports, and it would not regulate operators like FanDuel and DraftKings.

The DFS bill in Indiana

State Rep. Alan Morrison, a Republican, said he plans to revisit a bill affecting DFS that he first introduced earlier this year. Morrison’s plans were first reported by WRTV in Indianapolis, and he confirmed those plans in an interview with Legal Sports Report.

The bill would generally be the same as one he first authored back in January. HB 1074 sought to allow Indiana’s “racinos” the ability to offer fantasy sports contests.

“The DFS phenomenon is really sweeping the country, and if there’s a way that we can integrate that into our facilities that we have currently, I think that would be a good step for us to take,” Morrison told LSR.

Morrison did say that before he introduced the bill the first time, he had talked to gaming interests in the state, and the ability to get into the daily fantasy sports market was something they were interested in.

Morrison said believes the recent advertising rush by DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as mainstream media coverage, could help momentum for the bill in the state legislature. Morrison also notes that league involvement in DFS — Major League Baseball, the NHL and the NBA all partner with one of the two sites — should help his bill’s chances.

“The fact that the major sports leagues are endorsing these leagues and embracing them — if they weren’t embracing it and they weren’t allowing it to have such a presence at their games, it would give me some pause,” Morrison said. “But the fact that that they have fully endorsed it, that’s kind of a green flag for us.

No regulation for current DFS operators

Morrison confirmed that he does not intend to affect the daily fantasy sports industry as it currently operates in Indiana.

We are not looking to regulate them [DFS operators] at all, that’s not what we want to do,” Morrison said.

Morrison did note, however, that the bill as it will likely be reintroduced would allow gaming interests in the state to either run DFS on their own or contract out to a third party.

“They certainly could bring DraftKings or FanDuel to run an on-site operation if that’s what they chose to do,” Morrison said. He said he not spoken personally with either company.

Would DFS operators be interested?

A DFS site like DraftKings or FanDuel getting involved with a state-licensed gaming facility might seem like a longshot, in the current environment.

Currently, DFS sites operate with no governmental oversight. Even being a third-party provider for an Indiana racino would likely invite some sort of governmental oversight into a DFS site’s operations. DraftKings, though, has received a gaming license in the U.K., but that’s a far cry from starting to offer DFS under the auspices of a gaming license in the U.S.

There’s also the matter of DFS companies doing their best to not be associated with gambling activities; a DFS site teaming up with a racino obviously draws that line.

There are sites that have been open about their desire to do B2B applications for their fantasy platforms — most notably DraftDay (recently sold to Viggle and Sportech) and Star Fantasy Leagues. These would seem to be the two most likely potential partners for racinos in Indiana.

Photo by Jasont82 used under license CC BY-SA 3.0