While some states are looking to move quickly on possible regulation of the daily fantasy sports industry, New Jersey lawmakers made it clear that they won’t be acting in the near future.
The world of daily fantasy sports has been turned on its head since a data leak occurred at one of the major sites, leading players, public officials and the media to question why the industry is unregulated and to contemplate whether or not DFS is gambling.
What’s going on with DFS in New Jersey?
One of those states where those questions are being asked? New Jersey.
A recent hearing of the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee addressed the subject of daily fantasy sports — even before news broke that the New York attorney general issued cease-and-desist notices to the biggest daily fantasy sports operators, FanDuel and DraftKings.
But the members of that committee made it clear that they had no desire to pass legislation until its attempt to allow sports betting plays out in the courts. Currently, New Jersey has been on the losing end of that court battle, but a rehearing of its case will likely take place early in 2016.
Assemblymember Ronald Dancer said he did not want to do anything to “place the sports betting case in jeopardy;” his fellow committee members agreed with that assessment.
So, while DFS is a hot topic in New Jersey, it appears users will be able to play at FanDuel, DraftKings and elsewhere through football season, and likely months after that, with no changes.
When New Jersey acts on DFS, what might it do?
Once the sports betting case is resolved, one way or another, then you will likely see the New Jersey legislature take up the issue in earnest. So far, there has been a draft of a bill that would treat DFS almost the same as same as regulated NJ online casinos and online poker in the state.
If the bill is passed as-is, it would likely mean most operators pull out of the state, as the proposed legislation would create a high hurdle to entry of the market and be prohibitively expensive to gain access to New Jersey’s player base.
But, the bill may change a lot from its draft version, and the final approach of New Jersey on DFS is far from a given.
What do lawmakers think about DFS?
The committee gave some insight about what its members were thinking during last week’s hearing. Several of them clearly believe DFS is a form of gambling, and needs to be treated as such.
The committee was also learning about the industry on the fly — the hearing was informational in nature and some members were coming a knowledge deficit regarding DFS. Some members, including chairman Ralph Caputo, were combative when talking to industry representatives.
The initial takeaway is that any legislation dealing with DFS will not necessarily be “industry friendly,” leaving the future of DFS in the state very much up in the air. But such legislation is a long was from becoming law.
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