Fantasy Football is gearing up, and we are on the eve of many drafts and leagues forming for the new season. As attorneys, we often get asked about the legality of sports gambling and in particular, fantasy sports. As some of you are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a gambling ban from 1992 called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Thus, sports gambling is no longer illegal under federal law. However, each state can have laws that restrict or forbids gambling within their state borders. As for fantasy sports, that has been dealt with separately.
As of May 16 of this year, fourteen (14) states have specifically allowed fantasy sports, and daily fantasy sports to exist (SEE: https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/14799449/daily-fantasy-dfs-legal-your-state-state-state-look). New Hampshire is one of those states, as Governor Sununu signed the bill into law on July 18, 2017.
As noted here, the law provides the following:
- Regulation of the industry will fall to the New Hampshire lottery commission, which is given the power to promulgate some rules to oversee the industry.
- There is no fee or tax for operators that register with the state. An earlier version of the bill had both an upfront fee and a tax on revenue.
- Operators must register with the commission, but may continue to operate in the state while the law is taking effect if they apply for registration.
- The law sets up basic consumer protections for users at registered DFS sites, including a ban on employee play; the segregation of player funds and operational funds; and responsible gaming protocols.
- The minimum age for users is 18.
Thus, daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are specially legalized in the State of New Hampshire. Most importantly, the law mandates you must be eighteen (18) years of age and provides consumer protections to those using those sites.
Fantasy sports is something many of us are involved in, and it’s evident that right now all of those that play are not in danger of breaking the law. However, laws can change quickly, and it’s important to know your rights. Here at Parnell, Michels & McKay, we keep ourselves updated on the developments in the law to help him assist all of our clients in dealing with legal issues. Contact us today if you need help navigating the legal playing field.