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Virginia Senate Passes Bill Exempting DFS from the Definition of Gambling

February 18, 2016

The Virginian Senate has passed a bill that would exempt Daily Fantasy Sports from the legal definition of gambling.

Senate Bill 646--the “Fantasy Contests Act,” subtitled “created, registration required, conditions of registration, civil penalty”--passed on February 8. The Act enacts typical consumer protections one sees across the country, and places the Daily Fantasy Sports safely in the “legal” category.

The law would have DFS operators managed by the Department of Agriculture and Customer Services, and could register for a license with an annual fee of $50,000. As usual, no employees, no family members, and inside information is not allowed. Operational and player funds are divided. Minimum age to play DFS is 18. If any of these conditions are breached, the civil penalty is $1000.

Virginia is one of the states that has decided that Daily Fantasy Sports are a contest of skill. The bill states that DFS wins “reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants” with an emphasis on mastery of statistics.

Virginia joins fellow states California, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to use this diction. Otherwise, Virginia has been a relatively low key legislative show, what with hot battles being waged by Attorneys General in New York and Texas. Three Daily Fantasy Sports bills passed in January

Perhaps the reason Virginia has seen such little resistance is because it is located close to New Jersey and Delaware, which are becoming major hubs for online gambling. Recently, Pennsylvania introduced a bill which would legalize online poker in the state, and has since expressed interest in building cross border partnerships with its neighbors in the region.


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