Legislature Legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports

Colorado is among the first states to set regulations

By Tony Flesor

LAW WEEK COLORADO

Colorado is among a group of states responding to criticism of the daily fantasy sports industry with new legislation imposing regulations on fantasy games.

After advertising for the online sports betting games hit a fever pitch in the past NFL season, many states strained to find the line between fantasy sports and online betting. With a concerted effort to crack down on sites either in the courts or in state legislatures, many states pursued restrictions for the games. Colorado’s own effort involved a smooth trip through the statehouse resulting in a list of rules and regulations that look like a rulebook of their own while also imposing consumer protections.

THE HISTORY

A national movement for daily fantasy sports regulations started in October when the Nevada Gaming Control Board said the daily fantasy sports leagues were gambling according to state law and shut down the sites until they met the state’s requirements. The claim was quickly backed by attorneys general from Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois, and the sites also faced legal challenges from a U.S. attorney from New York claiming the sites violated a slew of laws against online gambling.

Meanwhile, a number of states pursued legislative changes. Colorado is among six states that have succeeded in creating regulations for the online fantasy sports sites. The others are Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. More than 35 states have considered regulating the sports sites since last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sarah Clark, an associate and policy advisor for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, said the bill, which came late in the legislative session, involved a lot of work from stakeholders to win strong majority support for the bill.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the June 13, 2016 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.