Thanks in large part to the exception provided in the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”), fantasy sports contests are unquestionably legal in most states. However, there are still a handful of states where the legality of such contests is a matter of debate. Louisiana has now taken steps to remove itself from the list of states whose citizens are sometimes denied access to money games on daily fantasy sports sites, such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
Is Louisiana poised to legalize real-money daily fantasy sports?
A bill recently introduced by a Louisiana State Representative seeks to clarify existing law in order to ensure that fantasy sports games are treated differently than gambling, by closely tracking in language the carve-out provision that exists under the UIGEA for fantasy sports. Under the measure, Louisiana residents would not be restricted from collecting money online if they win a fantasy sports contest. According to the bill’s sponsor, fantasy sports contests should be treated differently than other forms of online gambling because skill is the dominant factor in such games rather than luck. This position has been universally adopted in states that have permitted legalized fantasy sports contests.
Building Momentum Towards Legalized Fantasy Sports
Louisiana is the latest example of a state taking action to legalize paid fantasy sports contests. We have previously written about similar efforts in Washington, Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, and Montana. So far, none of these states’ efforts have resulted in bills ultimately being passed into law. Nevertheless, it is clear that momentum exists to address the murky status of fantasy sports in those states.
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.