Viriginia Becomes First State to Regulate Fantasy SportsPublished March 14, 2016 by Elana K
Virginia is making history as the first state to regulate fantasy football, basketball and baseball. Fantasy sports sites will need to pay an initial $50,000, ensure their players’ money is kept separate from operating funds, and report annual audits.
Virginia is making history as the first state to pass a bill to regulate fantasy football, basketball and baseball. The “Fantasy Contests Act” was signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe last week, setting a precedent for other states who have drafted bills but not yet made it into actual law.
The requirements of the bill are as follows: Fantasy sports sites will need to pay an initial $50,000, ensure their players’ money is kept separate from operating funds, and report annual audits to Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for review.
Spokesman Brian Coy commented on the bill, "This bill, which was passed by super majorities of both chambers, will empower Virginia to regulate this emerging industry and keep consumers safe from abuses.”
Fantasy sports has come under fire in the past few months with a number of states calling for regulation, and even banning it, until regulations are passed. These states claim that there is no difference between daily fantasy sports and online gambling, the latter of which requires extensive regulations in order to be legalized. As of now, only three states in the US have legalized online gambling; but daily fantasy sports have been taking place across all borders, unregulated and unsupervised.
But with the intense scrutiny that daily fantasy sports companies have come under, all that is changing. Nevada and New York have already banned daily fantasy sports until regulated; Wisconsin and Massachusetts have drafted bills to regulate it.
While the above states are mainly focusing on daily fantasy sports, the law passed in Virginia does not mention the word “daily,” which means that it will cover not only the two big companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, but smaller companies that might not be able to pay the initial $50,000 requirement. On the bright side, the language of the bill is quite broad, which may pave the way for future forms of online gambling.