Last week, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law a statute that explicitly provides that paid fantast sports contests do not constitute gaming under applicable law. Additionally, the law will set up a regulatory scheme that will govern fantasy sports operators and the basic parameters of the contests that they offer.

What are some key provisions of the new Indiana fantasy sports regulatory scheme?

In order to benefit from the gambling law exemption, fantasy sports operators must:

  • Pay $50,000.00 to register with the State’s Gaming Commission, and annual fees of $5,000;
  • Prohibit contests based on college and high school sports;
  • Verify that participants in fantasy sports contests are at least 18 years of age;
  • Disclose to participants the number of entries that each participant may submit in a single contest;
  • Refrain from advertising paid fantasy sports contests at schools and at sports areas used exclusively for student sports activities; and
  • Submit to audits to verify compliance with the statutory scheme every three (3) years;

The law will go into effect in July, 2016.

The Continued Push to Regulate the Fantasy Sports Industry

Indiana joins Virginia as the first states to formally enact a regulatory scheme for fantasy sports contests and operators. In addition to these states, similar legislative initiatives have been undertaken in statehouses across the country including, among others, Wisconsin, Missouri, California and Florida. 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.