A number of states including Nevada and New York put the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry under close scrutiny after state attorneys came down on DFS providers such as DraftKings and FanDuel stating that these DFS games were not games of skill but of chance and were similar to casino gambling and need a license to operate.
Eight states have so far introduced legislation to regulate the DFS industry and Maine is also looking to do likewise. R- Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta has put forward a new bill that seeks to legalize the DFS industry and state lawmakers will address all key issues concerning the DFS industry during the next session. Katz is only required to submit a detailed proposal after the session is underway.
Some of the lawmakers in Maine were at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago last week and took the opportunity to meet with executives from DFS companies to discuss a way forward. The DFS industry has grown at a rapid pace in the United States and is reported to have over 57 million players throughout the nation. DraftKings and FanDuel are the two biggest DFS operators in the market and pro-football continues to be the most popular DFS game. A market report stated that entry fees collected by DFS operators in 2015 were around $2.6 billion and that could rise to $14 billion by 2020.
The legalization of the DFS industry will generate a significant amount of revenue for Maine in the form of gaming taxes. State Attorney General Janet Mills said that a number of issues surrounding the DFS industry would first have to be addressed including looking at the criminal code in Maine which is ambiguous when it comes to determining whether DFS games are games of skill or chance.
In a statement found on Bangor Daily News, Mills said “It’s fun to, you know, to pretend you are the manager of a gazillion teams, you are going to put this quarterback together with this linebacker, this, that and the other thing. That can be a lot of fun, but when it comes to putting a lot of money at risk, and putting your family savings at risk, that’s something that causes me great concern.”
Mills stated that it was important for lawmakers to come up with strong regulations for the DFS industry. There must be rules in place to limit how much DFS players can bet at a time and to determine who is eligible to play. Mills also wanted DFS providers to clearly display their disclaimers highlighting the odds of winning. Senator Katz is confident that the DFS industry could do well in Maine when the right regulations are in place and generate additional income for the state.