Earlier this year, we wrote about Indiana State Representative Terre Haute and his attempts to pass a pair of bills that would have legalized: (1) sports gambling and; (2) online fantasy sports for contests that award cash prizes and which comply with criteria similar to that contained in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”). Neither bill gained much traction in the last legislative session. Now, perhaps inspired by the recent nationwide advertising blitz of industry leaders, DraftKings and FanDuel, Rep. Haute is prepared to renew his push to legalize paid fantasy sports contests, in an effort to help Indiana reap some of the financial benefits associated with the booming industry.
How do Indiana’s efforts compare with fantasy sports-related activity occurring nationwide?
Indiana seems poised to join the whirlwind of activity engulfing fantasy sports contests at the state level across the country. Recently, we have seen the Massachusetts Attorney General announce that she will review of the legality of the fantasy sports industry, Nevada’s gaming commission undertaking a similar review, California move towards regulating the industry, and whispers that Congress may conduct hearings on the subject of daily fantasy sports.
Keeping Your Fantasy Sports Venture Legal
We have written extensively about how the fantasy sports industry has been able to take advantage of the favored status offered by the UIGEA’s (“UIGEA”) narrowly tailored fantasy sports exemption. However, while protected under UIGEA, the legality of fantasy sports contests is ultimately determined on a state by state basis pursuant to state gambling laws. As noted above, states across the country are expressing a new desire to examine the industry, as well as the manner in which they see fit to regulate it, if at all. As such, when setting up or operating a fantasy sports contest or other gaming venture, it is important to retain competent legal counsel to become/remain compliant with applicable law.