DFS Fails In Georgia, Advances In Arkansas; Sports Betting Gets A Lift With Las Vegas Raiders

Written By Steve Ruddock on March 31, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
Arkansas fantasy sports

Following a late push, daily fantasy sports legislation was scuttled in Georgia this week, but DFS bills are still active in over 20 other states.

Sports betting also got a boost with the announcement that the league approved the Oakland Raiders plan to move the team to Las Vegas. Many see that as further erosion of the NFL’s opposition to legal sports betting spreading beyond Nevada.

DFS legislation update

A daily fantasy sports bill easily passed both houses of the Arkansas legislature and is likely to head to the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson for final approval. He will likely sign the bill into law, given the margins the bill past in the legislature. If the Governor signs the bill, Arkansas will become the first new state to legalize DFS this year.

The good news in Arkansas was offset by the bad news coming out of Georgia. The legislature adjourned for the year without legalizing DFS. DFS sites continue to operate in the heavily populated state, despite the previous attorney general saying that DFS likely constitutes illegal gambling.

The number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 tallies 22. But with Georgia punting on DFS this year and a failed bill in Kentucky, the number of states with active legislation is down to 20:

  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.

Richmond baseball players reinstated

In one of the more controversial NCAA rulings in recent memory, five Richmond baseball players were suspended in February. Initially, media reported the violations in question as relating to fantasy football. Now, the NCAA said the players were using illegal sports betting sites, as the NCAA issued the following statement to Legal Sports Report about the case:

“According to the facts of the case submitted the University of Richmond, the four baseball student-athletes wagered money on sporting events using gambling websites. Contrary to previous media reports, these cases did not include fantasy sports.”

Four of the suspended players have now been cleared to play, in what continues to be a developing story.

Sports betting legislation update

Eight states are fighting for a repeal of PASPA, or pre-committing to legalizing sports betting if federal sports betting laws were to change:

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

The sponsor of the Michigan bill penned this op-ed calling for his state to act.

NFL trying to square its sports betting circle

The announcement that the Raiders would be moving to Las Vegas has many wondering if the NFL’s hard-line position against sports betting is softening. Why? The team will reside in a city where sports betting is legal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell quickly squashed these hopes telling SI.com’s Monday Morning Quarterback on March 27:

“[The NFL] is not changing our position as it relates to legalized sports gambling,” Goodell said. “We still don’t think it is a positive thing. We want to make sure that the integrity of our game is the primary concern and we do everything possible to protect that. And that people are watching it for the outcome, and they know that it is not being influenced by any outside influences. We are very determined to continue that, and we will; that’s a first priority for us.”

However, a day later Goodell’s position on the matter was already beginning to unravel, when he said the regulated sports betting environment in Nevada is beneficial.

Image credit: Nagel 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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