Updating a previous topic on which we have recently blogged, Wisconsin State Representative Tyler Vorpagel has officially begun circulating a draft proposal to regulate daily fantasy sports in the State and is now seeking sponsors.

What are some key provisions of the proposed Wisconsin regulation?

While the bill has not yet been formally introduced to the Legislature, certain aspects of the regulatory scheme are already known, and include:

  • Registration of fantasy sports operators for licensing with the State for $150,000.00;
  • Prohibitions on employees and their family members from participating in any contest where the prize is more than $5.00;
  • Prohibitions on employee participation in any contest offered by his/her employer-operator;
  • Segregation of participants’ entry fee funds from operational funds and maintenance of reserves in the amount equal to deposits received from participants;
  • Operators must verify that participants are at least 18 years of age or older;
  • Operators must contract with third parties to conduct annual audits with results submitted to the State’s financial regulator;
  • Civil penalties of up to $1,000 and possible revocation of licenses for violations.

In related news, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has thrown his support behind legalization efforts in the State. Nixon has stated that he wishes to see the contests legalized and taxed in the same fashion as casinos. Meanwhile, Missouri lawmakers are currently working with industry leaders to create legislation that would clarify state law regarding fantasy sports contests. However, such a bill has neither yet been officially announced nor introduced and, therefore, the details of same are not known to date.

The Continued Push to Regulate the Fantasy Sports Industry

The news out of Wisconsin and Missouri follows similar regulatory efforts undertaken by the respective legislatures of California, Florida and Indiana, as well as the recent endorsement of regulation by the Massachusetts Governor and the Commissioner of the NBA.   As fantasy sports contests, and the laws and regulations that govern them, continue to grow and evolve, it is essential that fantasy sports enterprises keep abreast of the developing legal landscape. Operators should regularly review their respective contest platforms, entry fee and prize structures with knowledgeable counsel in order to effectively navigate this rapidly changing regulatory framework.