How Many More States Could Legalize And Regulate Daily Fantasy Sports This Year?

Written By

Updated on

states that might pass DFS bills

The daily fantasy sports industry has had a pretty good year legislatively.

Over the course of late 2015 and early 2016, the industry has seen legislation dealing with DFS introduced in more than 30 states. Much of that can be attributed to a robust and successful lobbying effort led by DraftKings, FanDuel and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Two states have already passed laws regarding DFS —Indiana and Virginia. Two more — Mississippi and Tennessee — seem all but assured of doing the same.

How many more states can realistically join them?

The top-level look at the states and DFS

The current legislative map shows that are in fact active bills in a lot of states. (Green shows states that have passed bills legalizing DFS; gray indicates active legislation; red indicates legislation is dead or a legislature adjourned without passing an introduced bill):

However, some of those bills have seen little or no action aside from being introduced or are unlikely to be passed given upcoming deadlines. We can also assume that if a bill hasn’t been introduced yet in a state, there’s little likelihood that legislation will surface or be passed in 2016.

The pool of states that realistically have a chance of passing legislation before their respective statehouses adjourn is much smaller than the gray states in the map above.

The states with the best chance of passing DFS bills

Based on legislative momentum and time left on legislative calendars, here are the states where bills have the best prospects:

DFS bills could hit a snag in any of these states. But if you had to handicap their chances of heading to a governor’s desk, all three would have to be favorites over inaction.

The wild-cards for DFS bills

There have been good signs in some of these states, but also reasons to doubt the ability of the legislature to get something done this year:

Some of these states could definitely pass legislation this year, but there’s also a real chance that none of them do.

Conclusion: The range of DFS law possibilities

With two laws on the books, and two more a near-certainty, how many states will have legal, regulated DFS by the end of 2016? (The analysis below excludes Kansas, which passed legislation in 2015.)

The bottom line? If you had said DFS would get legal clarity in five or more states six months ago, that would seem like a huge victory for the industry. And in reality, it is.

But with three of the most important DFS states in limbo — NY, California and Illinois — it’s difficult to claim a real win until one or all of those state legislatures deal with DFS. Failure to get a bill passed in New York is a possible disastrous scenario.

There’s also the question of whether DFS laws as constructed are really a victory for the whole industry, as legislation in some states furthers a DraftKings-FanDuel duopoly.

In any event, the states that have — and will — pass legislation are starting the DFS industry on the path to getting the legal clarity it desires.