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Daily Fantasy Sports Weekly Wrap: Virginia First For DFS; FantasyHub Bailout

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Here’s a quick look back at what happened in the daily fantasy sports industry this past week, and what to watch for this coming week:

What happened this week in DFS

Virginia makes history: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe broke new ground in daily fantasy sports by becoming the first state governor to sign a law written specifically to regulate the industry. Among the provisions in the bill are that operators must register with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and that each operator must pay a $50,000 fee to register in the state. The bill was mostly celebrated. But the $50,000 fee sparked some concern among operators, and FantasyAces and Star Fantasy Leagues are among the operators that said they would not seek a license.

CEOs make case in Nevada: FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles and DraftKings CEO Jason Robins spoke on Monday to a group of government officials and gaming industry executives at a Nevada Gaming Policy Committee meeting on fantasy sports. Both CEOs expressed a desire to return to Nevada, which last year declared that DFS is a form of gambling that requires a license to operate. But both added they would be reluctant to apply for a license under Nevada’s current structure, which would treat DFS as sports pool wagering.

DraftKings bails out FantasyHub: DraftKings announced that it would bail out shuttered operator FantasyHub, which appears to have owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and players. The move, which had been rumored for weeks, appears to be an attempt by DraftKings to avoid another black-eye for the industry in general and Fantasy Sports Trade Association in particular; FantasyHub was a member of the FSTA. In the announcement, DraftKings suggested that regulation is the way to avoid another FantasyHub-like scenario in the future.

More states join the mix: On Monday, a bill was introduced in New Jersey that would regulate and tax daily fantasy sports, joining more than two dozen states that have DFS regulations on the legislative table.

What to watch for in DFS

NCAA tournament tips off: The main bracket of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will tip off on Thursday. College basketball doesn’t draw much DFS interest, accounting for less than 5 percent of overall DFS activity, according to researchers Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. But that doesn’t stop some heavy DFS hitters from partaking in the action. DraftKings’ top offerings include its $350,000 Mania Survivor Series and its $200,000 Cinderella Survivor games. FanDuel’s top offering is its $300,000 Survive the Madness contest.

Clock ticking in Indiana: Two weeks ago, Indiana became the second state to send a DFS bill to its governor’s desk. That bill still sits with Gov. Mike Pence. Last week, Pence did express a willingness to sign the bill. And there is a good chance that this week the Hoosier State could join Virginia as the only two states with signed bills regulating the industry.

FanDuel and charity: While DraftKings was paying out money owed to charities, FanDuel was working on donating to charity. FanDuel just announced a joint awareness campaign with Impact Homelessness and the Orlando Magic to raise awareness for homelessness. As part of the campaign, FanDuel will donate $1 for every tweet using the hashtag #RethinkHomelessness during the Magic’s March 15 matchup with the Denver Nuggets — from 5 p.m. Tuesday until two hours after the game ends.

Zack Hall
- Zack Hall has been covering sports and business for more than 16 years as both a reporter and editor. He has won numerous awards with stops that include the Reno Gazette-Journal and the Bend Bulletin.
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