Daily Fantasy Sports Weekly Wrap: Congressional Hearing On Tap

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Congress DFS May

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:

What happened this week in DFS

Maryland makes news by doing nothing: The Maryland House failed to act on a pair of bills passed last month by the state Senate before the 2016 legislative session ended. At first glance, it appears to be a win for the daily fantasy sports industry, which had been actively actively campaigning against both bills. But Senate President Mike Miller urged Attorney General Brian Frosh to file a lawsuit that banned DFS in the state, according to the Washington Post. Though Miller cannot compel Frosh to file suit, it appears there is still plenty to keep an eye on in Maryland.

Congress to take on DFS issue: A source confirmed to Legal Sports Report last week that a House subcommittee has a hearing on DFS planned for May 11. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will examine the legal issues surrounding DFS at the state level, consumer protections, and the role of the federal government. The hearing will not be solely focused on daily fantasy sports issues. It will also include broader discussions of online gambling and sports betting. Neither a witness list nor an agenda for the hearing has been released, but here are some guesses on who might appear.

FSTA bails on FanDuel, DraftKings initiative: The Fantasy Sports Trade Association announced that it will break off its support of the Fantasy Sports For All Initiative, an advocacy partnership between DraftKings, FanDuel, and the FSTA. The FSTA will remain aligned with the DFS giants “on the majority of its advocacy efforts,” the announcement said. Almost immediately, references to Fantasy Sports For All were scrubbed from its website. The FSTA did not offer up a direct reason for the change, but it appears that complaints from smaller DFS operators were a chief concern.

What to watch for in DFS

Can Tennessee, Mississippi reverse negative opinions?: Action will be on tap in both states this week. In Tennessee, votes could be held in both the House and Senate on a bill regulating the industry. In Mississippi, a conference committee has agreed on the text of legislation after the House and Senate passed wildly different versions of the bill. Attorneys general in both states earlier opined that DFS was illegal.

Iowa, others continue regulatory process: A regulatory framework for DFS was advanced last week by an Iowa Senate subcommittee. The process, though, has only begun. Last year the Iowa Senate passed a bill that would have made cash payouts legal, but the bill died in the House. Iowa, of course, is just one of many states openly discussing DFS regulation, although the state is one where DFS has never operated.

U.S. Open contest not quite as big as Masters: DraftKings unveiled its $3.5 Fantasy Golf Millionaire contest for the the U.S. Open in June. While still sizable, DraftKings’ guarantee is $500,000 less than for the Masters earlier in April. This ends a string of growth that began last year, when DraftKings first began offering big fantasy golf guarantees for major championships.