New York and Nevada are leading a number of the United States in scrutinising the Daily Fantasy Sports industry. Many state attorneys feel that fantasy sports games are not skills based games and have more in common with casino games and as a result they are claiming that providers of daily fantasy sports should also require a gambling license in order to operate.
So far, eight states have introduced their own legislations to regulate daily fantasy sports while Senator Roger Katz has put forward a new bill that would make Maine the ninth state to follow suit. Many of the Maine lawmakers were at a national conference in Chicago last week where they met with a number of daily fantasy sports executives in order to discuss a potential way forward. Daily fantasy sports have grown at such a rapid rate that lawmakers and senators haven’t been able to keep up. More than 50 million residents of the USA are estimated to play daily fantasy sports with DraftKings and FanDuel among the most popular operators. NFL remains the most popular game for fantasy sports fans with entry fees over $2billion collected by operators in 2015, a fee that is expected to rise to around $14billion by 2020.
According to State Attorney General Janet Mills, the law in Maine is quite ambiguous in recognising daily fantasy sports as games of skill or chance. It is quite clear that the future is quite uncertain as there are a number of issues that need to be addressed in the near future, both by the states and the operators of the daily fantasy leagues. There is a lot to gain for both Roger Katz and Janet Mills as Maine would stand to generate a significant amount of revenue in the form of gaming taxes.
Fantasy sports are popular in many countries, particularly the United Kingdom where many players put together teams based on the English Barclays Premier League. The majority of these are free to play while a few require a small entry fee but these leagues are purely for bragging rights over the friends you may have in your league, and not for profit. That is where many state officials feel the line needs to be drawn as daily fantasty sports aren’t just for fun, in cases some players are putting a lot of money on the line or risking their family savings.
It may be some time before any decision is finally made in Maine but the belief is that they plan to place strong regulations upon daily fantasy sports including placing a limit on how much their players can bet and a disclaimer that highlights the odds of winning. There is also a common opinion that regulation could improve the daily sports industry within the state of Maine while generating extra income for the state in the process.