Daily Fantasy Sports Weekly Wrap: Mississippi, Tennessee Regulation On The Way?

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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 and sports betting industries:

What happened this week

Sports betting goes to Washington: The American Gaming Association hosted morning panels on the state of sports betting in the U.S. The panels were informational in nature. But more importantly, the panels were attended by Congressional staffers, among others, at the U.S. Capitol.

The event was merely an opening act, with Congress set to take aim at the issues of sports betting and daily fantasy sports in a hearing by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade scheduled for May 11.

Iowa bill dead: A fantasy bill that would have regulated fantasy sports died this week in Iowa, a state where fantasy sports has been considered illegal. Gov. Terry Branstad called for more study and chose not to endorse the bill, effectively ending the legislation’s chances.

That means Iowa will remain among the states where DFS does not operate.

Baseball surprised by state action: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred admitted in an interview with the Associated Press that Major League Baseball “did not expect individual states to intercede” on daily fantasy sports when it decided to partner with DraftKings. Instead, baseball focused on federal law.

Of course, Manfred misjudged, as much of the regulatory action over the last year has centered in individual states.

What to watch for

Mississippi, Tennessee governors on deck: Two state legislatures on Tuesday passed daily fantasy sports bills that would legalize and regulate the industry, assuming the states’ respective governors sign the bills. First, the Tennessee Senate overwhelming approved a bill that the House had passed on Monday.

Hours later, Mississippi’s House and Senate passed a bill, each by a significant majority.Interestingly, the attorney generals in both states had recently issued a negative opinion on the legality of DFS. The bills would make those opinions moot. Tennessee and Mississippi join Virginia and Indiana as the only state legislatures to send such a bill to their governors.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant are both expected to sign the bills.

Regulation shelved in Connecticut?: Attorney General George Jepsen wrote an opinion that DFS could run afoul of a revenue-sharing agreement with two federally recognized Indian tribes. That made proposed legislation to regulate DFS this year now unlikely.

The tribal gaming issue is one coming up in a variety of states.