The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Daily Fantasy Sports Regulation in State Legislatures

2016 August 18

Daily Fantasy Sports Regulation in State Legislatures

Daily fantasy sports is a concept that is as tricky to say as it is to understand.  It exists in a legal gray area that has remained unregulated for years.  Recently, after several scandals that brought widespread public attention, legislators have attempted to define and regulate the practice.  

Daily fantasy sports involve a person creating a daily or weekly virtual roster of players for the sport they are interested in based on the real player’s performance.  The reality of that real player’s performance on the field or court, then, dictates whether the virtual roster is a winner or loser.  

Entry requires payment of a fee for each roster.  The winning roster collects a monetary prize. This model has attracted billions of dollars in entry fees (as actual player numbers are unknown, this is the best metric to measure their reach) and has proven to be highly lucrative for those running the fantasy game.   

But allegations of fraud and insider knowledge, as well as concerns over the impact of the industry on people with gambling addictions has led lawmakers to attempt to create industry guidelines.  These regulations and guidelines are highly dependent on whether daily fantasy sports are defined as a “game of chance” or a “game of skill.”

Of the handful of state legislatures that have worked on legislation regarding daily fantasy sports, I have chosen four to focus on.  Two states (Indiana and Virginia) have, as of July 1st, passed bills ...

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