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Dan Podheiser

Dan  Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

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DFS news roundup: Virginia governor signs DFS bill into law

10 Mar 2016

By Dan Podheiser
History was made in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry Monday afternoon, as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the nation's first DFS bill into law.

While sites like DraftKings and FanDuel continue to operate throughout the U.S. in states that consider DFS a "legal gray area," Virginia is now the only state with a regulatory framework for real-money DFS contests.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed off on Virginia becoming the only state with a regulatory framework for real-money DFS contests.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed off on Virginia becoming the only state with a regulatory framework for real-money DFS contests. (photo by Edward Kimmel/Creative Commons)

The bill, known as the Fantasy Contests Act, passed through the state House and Senate in February by a convincing 31-9 vote. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service will oversee DFS in the state, and will collect $50,000 registration fees from sites wishing to operate in Virginia. The regulation also outlines that real-money players must be at least 18 years old, and bans employees of fantasy sports sites from competing in public DFS contests.

"Today, Virginia became the first state in the nation this year to put in place a thoughtful and appropriate regulatory framework to protect the rights of fantasy players," said DraftKings Director of Public Affairs Griffin Finan in an official statement. "We thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership and advocacy and are hopeful that other states across the country will follow Virginia's lead. We will continue to work actively to replicate this success with dozens of legislatures and are excited to continue these efforts."

• These days it's win some, lose some for the DFS industry. FanDuel has decided to pull out of Texas in May as part of a settlement agreement with the state. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an official opinion on Jan. 19 that DFS constitutes gambling and is therefore in violation of state law. Meanwhile, DraftKings doesn't plan to go anywhere — the Boston-based site plans to fight the attorney general in court.

Indiana took one step closer to regulating DFS late last week, as the state Senate voted 34-10 to enact government oversight of the industry. The bill, S 339, was passed a day earlier by an overwhelming majority in the state House. Indiana is now the second state, after Virginia, to have a DFS regulatory bill go to a governor to be signed.

• While daily fantasy sports is not illegal in Nevada, the state became the first to "crack down" on the industry in 2015 when it ruled that DFS constitutes gambling, and therefore, operators would need to apply for a license from the Nevada Gaming Commission. So far none of the major DFS sites have applied for licenses from the state, and on Monday, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee discussed the industry at length, according to Legal Sports Report. The state, apparently, wants to "take the lead" on regulating DFS in the U.S.

• Finally, the Georgia Senate decided not to vote last Monday on a bill that would regulate the daily fantasy sports industry, following state Attorney General Sam Olens releasing an official opinion that said DFS constituted illegal gambling.
 
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