2017 Shaping Up To Be Active Year For Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation

Written By Steve Ruddock on January 20, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
Ohio statehouse from above

State legislatures are reconvening across the country, and just as it was in 2016, daily fantasy sports is once again shaping up to be a hot topic of discussion in 2017. And from the looks of it, so will sports betting.

DFS legislation update

2016 saw no less than 33 states introduce DFS legislation, with eight of those states passing daily fantasy sports laws.

2017 is already shaping up to be just as active.

A mere three weeks into the new year, eight states have already introduced DFS legislation:

  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Of note, three of these states, Indiana, Mississippi, and Missouri passed fantasy sports legislation in 2016. The reasoning behind the new bills is to make minor revisions to the existing laws.

Furthermore, DFS legislation appears to be imminent in Pennsylvania and Ohio – two populous states the DFS industry would love to put in the win column.

Legal Sports Report’s sports legislative tracker has up-to-the-minute updates on all DFS legislation.

Washington State holds a quick DFS hearing

In addition to introducing a bill, Washington State briefly discussed its proposed DFS legislation during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee on Wednesday.

Towards the end of the hearing, the Committee Chair, State Senator Michael Baumgartner, made overtly pessimistic comments about its chances. Baumgartner’s lack of enthusiasm about the bill’s chances was echoed by Washington State Gaming Commission Chairman Chris Stearns, who spoke to DFS Report on Thursday. Stearns doesn’t see much of a path forward for the bill.

The New York AG’s forced flip-flop

Meanwhile, in New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman finds himself in the peculiar situation of having to defend the DFS industry in court; an industry Schneiderman nearly tore down last year when he shutdown DFS operations in the state.

With the legislature passing a DFS law last year, Schneiderman, who has indicated he will uphold New York’s laws as written, now finds himself defending New York’s new DFS law against a lawsuit filed by anti-gambling groups claiming the law violates the New York State Constitution.

Sports betting legislation update

On the sports betting front, New Jersey received some “not bad” news from the Supreme Court of the United States this week. Residents can already play at NJ’s online casinos and poker sites, and the state has been pushing for the ability to offer regulated sports wagering as well.

Tasked with deciding if they would hear the state’s appeal, The SCOTUS chose Option C, which is to ask the Solicitor General of the United States to weigh in on the matter before deciding if the SCOTUS would hear the case – the CVSG option in the non-scientific pre-decision Twitter bookmaking below.

Meanwhile, South Carolina, New York, and Michigan are all making their own waves on the sports betting front, as all three states have introduced bills that would legalize sports betting.

Michigan State Representative Robert Kosowski introduced a bill this week that would legalize sports betting provided it passed a statewide referendum.

New York is already considering a similar piece of legislation, and South Carolina seems to be throwing anything gaming against the wall, including sports betting.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a veteran of the gambling industry, having been a longtime contributor to numerous publications both online and off centered on the regulated US online gambling industry. Steve is based in Massachusetts.

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