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Here’s a quick look back at what happened this past week, and what to watch for in the coming week in the world of the daily fantasy sports industry:
Tide rolls in Alabama: The attorney generals of two Southern states each issued opinions last week that daily fantasy sports are illegal in their respective states. On Tuesday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced that not only is DFS illegal in his state, but that he had issued cease and desist letters to both DraftKings and FanDuel. The DFS giants have until May 1 to pull out of the state, though neither DraftKings nor FanDuel announced their plans to comply. Here’s a glance at all the state AG’s have offered opinions on DFS.
The Masters: It appears there is still plenty of interest in DFS golf. The $4 million guaranteed prize pool DraftKings offered for The Masters did not quite sell out, but the contest still attracted nearly 206,000 entries. That is short of the nearly 230,000 entry slots available. Still, DraftKings’ 2016 Masters contest was its largest golf contest to date, bettering the 2015 PGA Championship, which drew nearly 190,000 entries for a $3.3 million contest. The question now becomes if there is enough interest for DraftKings to raise the overall guarantee yet again for June’s U.S. Open. For its part, the PGA Tour seems to want a piece of the action, too.
Tennessee: On Wednesday, Tennessee attorney general Herbert Slatery issued an opinion that stated that DFS is indeed gambling. More than that, it said that any paid fantasy sports are illegal in Tennessee, a state that has long been considered a murky legal environment for DFS. Slatery’s opinion was requested by the Tennessee House minority leader. And Tennessee had already been considering DFS legislation. This week appears to be key in the future of DFS in the state.
All eyes on Maryland: Of all the states, the best chance for immediate action appears to be in Maryland. Two state Senate bills recently passed: One would send the question of whether the state should regulate DFS to the votes this November; the other would essentially ban DFS. Industry advocates oppose both bills. And an industry-led advocacy effort, Fantasy Sports For All, made a concerted push last week at the Baltimore Orioles’ opening day. A pair of state delegates also penned an editorial headlined “Don’t kill fantasy sports in Maryland.” The legislative session adjourns on Monday.
Good deeds: DraftKings committed itself to support American Red Cross Giving Day. The event raises funds for Red Cross Disaster Relief, which provides immediate relief to families who have experienced disasters large and small. Donations can be made now by visiting www.redcross.org/cm/draftkings-pub. A $10 donation to the Red Cross can be made by texting REDCROSS to 90999. All donations will be processed on April 21.