Maine is Latest State to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports
By Kevin Vela
On August 2nd, Maine joined four other states to become the fifth this year to legalize daily fantasy sports. Fifteen states currently have DFS laws on the books that allow for legal play.
Maine’s victory was narrowly won—Governor Paul LePage has previously lobbied against relaxing the state’s gambling laws, and lawmakers worried that he would veto any fantasy sports legislation that made it to his desk. The House passed LD 1320 on June 29th, and the bill gained Senate approval shortly after, finally making its way to the governor’s office. LePage indicated his continued disapproval by refusing to sign the bill, but did not exercise a veto. On August 2nd, the legislative session ended and the bill became enacted as a result of the governor’s inaction.
The bill imposes a 10% tax on gross revenue and a sliding-scale licensing fee. Operators that have gross revenues of $100,000 or greater pay a $2,500 annual licensing fee, while those generating less than $100,000 are not required to pay at all. This will benefit smaller companies and create room for a more competitive DFS field (DFS giants FanDuel and DraftKings continue to dominate the market). The law also contains standard consumer protection provisions.
New Jersey looks most likely to be the next state to legalize DFS. The state legislature sent a bill to Governor Chris Christie’s office on June 29th, but the governor has yet to take any action. Lawmakers remain hopeful that the bill will pass, as the state stands to gain generous revenues from the bill and Governor Christie has previously indicated a willingness to legalize DFS, saying “Let the people play. Who cares?”.
The Ohio house of representatives passed DFS legislation in late May, but the bill has lost momentum in the Senate, where it has sat untouched in committee since June 15th.
Pennsylvania came close enacting a fantasy sports law during this summer’s legislative session, with both the house and senate passing separate bills. The two sides failed to find common ground, however, and HB 271 was tabled in late June.
Special thanks to Vela Wood law clerk, Kristin Miller, for her assistance with this post.