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Vermont Attorney General's Office Comments on Senate Bill that Would Legalize DFS

January 19, 2016

The state of Vermont may become the next battleground in the national battle over the legality of daily fantasy sports leagues.

On Friday, January 15, the Vermont Attorney General office’s criminal division chief John Treadwell made a series of statements condemning senator Kevin Mullin’s proposed bill to authorize, license and regulate daily fantasy sports in the state.

Treadwell’s criticism is one of consistency. He wonders why fantasy sports in particular is getting legal consideration, while other forms of real-money wagering online are not mentioned in the same session. Mullin’s bill, S 223, “takes one variety of illegal, for-profit gambling and makes it legal without any consideration for why this particular one is being chosen and others are not.” He claims it is tantamount to “exalting one version of gambling above others.”

Mullin’s bill “proposes to regulate fantasy sports contests and establish consumer protections for fantasy sports players.” It includes consumer protections such as prohibiting employees, family members, or the professional athletes of the competition from participating in leagues; a minimum age of 18 years; prevention of sharing inside information; and limiting the number of entries a player may have at any given time. Fantasy sports operators must also comply with an annual, third party audit, and must submit the results to the Attorney general. If passed, the bill would come into effect on July 1 of this year.

Existing Vermont gambling laws do not allow for private companies to conduct contests for profit. However, nonprofit organizations are permitted to offer contests, as long as the proceeds resulting from said contests are “used for charitable, educational, religious, or civic undertakings.”

Gambling in Vermont is defined and penalized as such: “A person who sells or disposes of property by way of chance or, as an inducement to the sale of property, gives the purchaser or any other person other property to be drawn by way of chance or lottery shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, for the first offense and imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both, for each subsequent offense”.

 


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