Alabama, Iowa Race To Finish Line For Fantasy Sports Bills; The Road Map For Legal Sports Betting

Written By Steve Ruddock on April 21, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
alabama DFS

After one of the wildest votes imaginable, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a fantasy sports bill, sending the measure on to the state Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, the state’s once-promising DFS bill that would change the Hawkeye State from red to green now looks like it’s headed for the scrap heap.

How fast could legal sports betting sweep the nation if a state were to challenge the federal ban? Faster than you might expect, according to attorney Daniel Wallach.

DFS legislation update

There are 10 states DFS operators unilaterally avoid due to negative legal climates, and flipping these states is of the utmost importance. Alabama is one of those states, and this week the Alabama House of Representatives provided some serious drama for DFS watchers, as the legislative body passed the state’s DFS bill by a 43-38 margin, but not before taking it on the legislative equivalent of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

As Dustin Gouker chronicled, the passage of the bill by the House was preceded by voting machine issues, hours of debate, and the bill’s sponsor being absent for family reasons.

The bill will still need to pass the Senate, which is unlikely to be as eventful, but the vote could once again be a nail biter.

The DFS bill tally

The number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 still tallies 23, while 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.

Clock is ticking in Iowa

The number of states with active legislation could be reduced by one in the near future, as the Iowa legislature will need to rush through DFS legislation before it adjourns.

Passage is looking less and less likely, as the legislature has already extended its session to wrap up unfinished business, but even with the extension the bill’s sponsor is now growing pessimistic of the bill’s chances.

Per Iowa newspaper The Gazette:

Windschitl said he supports the proposal, but enough opposition remains that he does not think it will pass the House this session.

Windschitl said the primary concerns raised are with an expansion of gambling and a desire for any such expansion to be controlled by casinos.

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

How fast could legal sports betting happen?

In the third and final installment of a series on sports betting in the United States, attorney Daniel Wallach lays out the roadmap for legalization in the United States and concludes that states have a new avenue to challenge the federal ban.

According to Wallach:

Moreover, it wouldn’t necessarily take years of litigation for a state to achieve legal sports betting within its borders.

Ideally, winning the lawsuit on the merits is the obvious endgame for a state… But, in my opinion, the most important part of the case will arrive early — potentially within weeks of the lawsuit being filed — when the sports leagues ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction to block a state from implementing its sports betting law.


If a prospective state challenger can avoid the early entry of a preliminary injunction… That state would then be able to offer single-game sports betting within its borders immediately, subject only to the possibility of a later reversal following a trial or an appeal.

Steve Ruddock Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Steve Ruddock
Privacy Policy