NASCAR this week announced a three-year fantasy sports relationship with DraftKings, pursuant to which DraftKings will have an exclusive license to develop NASCAR-branded games.

What does the agreement between DraftKings and NASCAR fantasy sports entail?

Under the agreement, NASCAR will provide DraftKings with access to data compiled and distributed by its production company, NASCAR Digital Media , which will allow DraftKings to provide real-time statistics to daily fantasy sports participants. NASCAR is touting the benefits of this arrangement, proclaiming that it will provide fantasy players with a unique user experience compared to other varieties of daily fantasy sports contests. The agreement also provides for users to access NASCAR daily fantasy sports games and statistics on DraftKings’ mobile application.

The relationship with NASCAR will allow DraftKings to further take advantage of the preferred status bestowed upon fantasy sports by federal law, as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”) specifically exempts from prohibition fantasy sports contests under certain enumerated circumstances. DraftKings will offer two types of NASCAR daily fantasy games: a free game and a pay-to-play variety. Each participant in a NASCAR fantasy sports game would be required to construct a roster comprised of five drivers within a set salary cap, in similar fashion to contests involving baseball, football, etc. Scoring categories would include finishing position, fastest laps, laps led, position differential and passing differential.

Green Flag for Fantasy Sports

NASCAR joins a growing list of professional sports leagues that have recently partnered with daily fantasy sports websites in order to capitalize on the booming industry and in an effort to reach their fans to enhance the viewer experience. That list includes Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League. We have also seen high profile entrants into the field of fantasy sports from publishing, media and Wall Street. Though the involvement of such powerful players does not offer guarantees regarding the clarity of the underlying legal issues surrounding daily fantasy sports contests, the momentum is clear and undeniable.

The interplay of business interests with 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.