The Kansas State Attorney General is expected to issue an opinion on the legality of fantasy sports this week. The opinion from the Attorney General was requested by a State Representative who opposes a measure that is currently before the State Legislature that would define fantasy sports leagues as a game of skill. Kansas remains one of only a handful states where for-pay fantasy sports contests are on precarious legal footing. The aforementioned bill, of which we have previously written, offers hope to citizens of Kansas, and fantasy sports ventures alike, that Kansas is on the track to allow Kansans to participate in this burgeoning field.
Where is Kansas going with fantasy sports?
As things currently stand, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (“KRGC”) has ruled that chance predominates over skill in fantasy sports leagues. As a result, the KRGC considers any fantasy sports contest that requires a player to pay a fee to participate and awards a prize to the winner to be an illegal lottery. The Kansas bill seeks to designate fantasy sports as a game of skill and thus exempt such contests from Kansas’ anti-gambling and lottery laws. The opinion letter of the Kansas Attorney General is intended to: (1) further clarify whether fantasy sports leagues are primarily games of chance or skill; and (2) offer guidance regarding the constitutionality of the bill currently pending in the legislature.
Continuing Momentum in Favor of Legalizing Fantasy Sports
We have previously written of efforts in Washington, Indiana, Louisiana, Iowa, and Montana to legalize fantasy sports. So far, none of these states’ efforts have resulted in bills ultimately being passed into law. Nevertheless, the efforts of these states, as well as the recent events in Kansas, indicate clear momentum to address the legal status of fantasy sports in those remaining states which do not otherwise allow for legal for-pay fantasy sports contests.
The evolution of state law in this field remains a significant topic for all gaming attorneys, fantasy sports lawyers and those interested in fantasy sports law in general. Where you plan on engaging in, or operating, a fantasy sports or other gaming venture, it is important to retain competent legal counsel to help you design your contests so that they comport with applicable law.