DFS Legislation Moves Forward In Iowa; March Madness Betting To Top $10 Billion

Written By Steve Ruddock on March 24, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
DFS and sports betting march madness

It’s starting to look like we’ve heard from all of the states interested in legalizing daily fantasy sports and/or challenge the federal government’s sports betting prohibition. After a flurry of activity to start the year, things have begun to calm down, aside from a straggler or two.

With April fast approaching, the focus is now shifting away from the introduction of bills and towards legislative action.

On the DFS front there’s optimism in Iowa after a DFS bill passed a committee vote, and new momentum in Georgia, where a DFS bill could see a potential vote next week.

At the same time, legal sports betting advocates are busy making their case by pointing out the billions of dollars that people will bet illegally during the NCAA tournament.

DFS legislation update

There were new bills introduced in states already considering DFS legalization. But the number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 still stands at 22:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Hawaii
  7. Illinois
  8. Iowa
  9. Kentucky
  10. Minnesota
  11. Montana
  12. Nebraska
  13. New Jersey
  14. New Hampshire
  15. North Carolina
  16. Ohio
  17. Oregon
  18. Pennsylvania
  19. Rhode Island
  20. Texas
  21. Vermont
  22. Washington

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

Legislative momentum in Iowa and Georgia

After easily passing the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee by a 23-2 vote, the sponsor of the bill is optimistic the state will pass a law legalizing and regulating DFS sometime this year.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, DFS legalization has reportedly been added to an existing bill, and could be voted on as early as next week. The Georgia legislature also adjourns then.

DraftKings launches in Germany

DFS isn’t anywhere near as popular in Europe as it in the US, but that hasn’t dissuaded DraftKings from sensing an opportunity and expanding into non-US markets. The company launched in the UK last year, and this past week they went live in Germany.

The man behind the company’s European invasion is Jeffrey Haas, a highly respected veteran of the online gaming industry.

“Germany is known for its passionate sports fans and we are pleased to welcome them to daily fantasy sports,” Haas said in a press release following the company’s Germany launch. “DraftKings gives everyone the chance to prove they are the best team manager in the world, when they are at the beer garden or on their couch at home. It’s the same fun fantasy sports experience players know and love, but without the season-long commitment.”

Sports betting legislation update

The number of states that have taken up the cause to repeal PASPA, or pre-committing to legalizing sports betting if there were to be a change in federal law, remains at eight:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Michigan
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Carolina
  8. West Virginia

March Madness a clarion call for legal sports betting

As they push for legal sports betting, the American Gaming Association continues to highlight the illegal betting that occurs on major sporting events.

In February, the AGA highlighted Super Bowl betting. Now the group’s attention turns to March Madness. The AGA estimates over $10 billion will be wagered, most of it illegally. The group does include office pools in its wager estimates.

As Legal Sports Report’s Dustin Gouker points out, March Madness is a boom period for Las Vegas, and if it was legal, it could be a similar revenue driver in casinos in other locales.

MLS Commish: Bring sports betting “out of the dark ages”

During an appearance at South by Southwest, MLS Commissioner Don Garber talked sports betting, and the need to modernize the US’s policies on it. Per GeekWire, Garber stated:

“We have a project going on now to really dig in deeply and understand it. I’ll be the third commissioner (along with NBA’s Adam Silver and MLB’s Rob Manfred) in and say I’m very open to understanding how we can get more engaged in this market in a way that I think if done properly, can be regulated and managed and controlled.

I’ll join the chorus of saying it’s time to bring it out of the dark ages. We’re doing what we can to figure out how to manage that effectively.”

Image credit: Al Sermeno Photography / Shutterstock.com
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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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