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Virginia Is the First US State to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports
- March 9, 2016 By Oliver Young -
The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, made history when he signed the first daily fantasy sports bill two days ago, and the state became the first one to formally legalize this gambling activity. A legal framework was established into the Fantasy Contests Act where several consumer protections were provided.
Commenting on the news, Senator Ryan McDougle said that this is a very important day for the future of DFS. “Virginia is leading the way in establishing strong DFS protections and is sending a clear message that this activity, with the proper oversight, is a skill based hobby and everybody should enjoy it.”
“Despite the fact that DFS is already legal in Virginia, this formal legalization provides extra consumer protections. I’m very pleased that Virginia is the first state to legalize and regulate DFS sites, allowing its residents to continue playing the games they love,” he added.
The governor had the bill since the end of February. It passed the House’s voting by 80 to 20 votes and was given thumbs up in the Senate by a 31-9 margin. The bill has been moving quite quickly since it was introduced in January.
The main body responsible for the DFS games is the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Virginia. Operators of daily fantasy sports who want to offer their products in the state must register and cover a $50,000 licensing fee for the oversight costs. No tax is charged on gaming revenue.
Furthermore, residents in Virginia who want to engage in DFS must be over 18 years of age. Other protections include sharing sensitive information with third parties about the games until the information is available to the public. Also, players’ funds must be kept separately from a company’s running funds and prohibits employees of a DFS site to take part in these games. Lastly, operators must do two separate yearly audits of their operations.
DraftKings Satisfied with the Move
DraftKings, a leading provider of DFS, thanked the Governor of Virginia for officially legalizing this activity and added that they are hopeful that other US states will follow the lead of Virginia. They also said that they will continue to work actively to repeat this success and are excited to move forward with their efforts.
Many other US states are expected to officially recognize and legalize the DFS industry. For example, New Jersey introduced a bill just for that. News report that about 30 states have been looking into the matter. It appears that New York and California will be largest states to look at some form of oversight of the DFS games.
On the negative side, in Nevada, the casino gaming capital in the US, the DFS industry was forced to leave after regulators said that the DFS ran afoul of the law if they offer their services without a sports betting license. The future of these games was discussed at the Monday meeting between the Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval and several DFS industry people.