Arkansas Governor Signs Daily Fantasy Sports Bill; Progress In Texas

Written By Steve Ruddock on April 14, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
Arkansas fantasy sports law

Arkansas became the latest state to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports this week.

But a much bigger prize for the DFS industry has also appeared on the horizon. A Texas House committee passed a DFS bill, which now heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

On the sports betting front, we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for the US Solicitor General to weigh in, and possibly convince the Supreme Court to hear New Jersey’s appeal. The SG’s staff met with representatives of both sides this week.

DFS legislation update

The big news this week was Arkansas joining the growing ranks of states that have enacted legislation legalizing and regulating daily fantasy sports.

It became official when Gov. Asa Hutchinson put his signature on the DFS bill that sailed through the legislature. Arkansas is the eleventh state to legalize fantasy sports, and the ninth since DFS become a hot topic of conversation in late 2015.

The DFS bill tally

The number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 tallies 23. With the passage of a bill in Arkansas, the number of states with active legislation stands at 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
  23. Maine

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

Is Texas in play?

This week a Texas committee passed state Rep. Richard Raymond’s DFS bill by a 6-1 margin. The bill will now head to the Texas House of Representatives, where it’s likely to meet with quite a bit of opposition in the conservative legislature that is historically opposed to anything that even slightly resembles gambling.

Legalization in Texas would be a huge step forward for DFS, as Texas is the largest state with a negative attorney general opinion on the activity. Last year Texas AG Ken Paxton called DFS “gambling” in a non-binding opinion.

But as noted above, the road still has a few bumps in it, including opposition from Stop Daily Fantasy Gambling. That group’s executive director penned an op-ed in a Texas paper, the American-Statesman, railing against “legitimizing daily fantasy sports.”

Sports betting legalization 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

Solicitor General gathering information

As forecasted in last week’s roundup, the US Solicitor General’s staff met with relevant parties this week, including attorney Ted Olsen, who is representing the state of New Jersey as it continues to fight for its right to party to legalize sports betting.

The Solicitor General has been asked by the US Supreme Court to file a brief on the matter before they decide if they will hear the case.

Also among the people meeting with the SG’s staff was Dennis Drazin, the owner of Monmouth Park in North Jersey, which would be one of the biggest beneficiaries should sports betting legalization occur.

According to Drazin, there was “nothing surprising” about the questioning, but he tempered his optimism.

“Everybody seems to agree that this is a fascinating case,” Drazin told “We’ll see what happens.”

The SG’s staff also met separately with attorneys for the major sports leagues and the NCAA.

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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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