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California Assembly passes DFS Bill AB1437
Thursday January 28,2016 : GOOD NEWS FOR DAILY FANTASY SPORTS AT LAST (Update)
California Assembly passes Adam Gray's AB1437.
After sailing through the Assembly Appropriations Committee earlier with just one dissenting vote, California Assemblyman Adam Gray's bill AB1437 legalising intrastate daily fantasy sports was approved by the Assembly Wednesday on a vote of 62-1, and is now on its way to the state Senate.
Titled the Internet Fantasy Sports Games Protection Act, the bill reportedly has the support of major sports franchises, many of whom have partnership deals with leading operators like DraftKings and FanDuel.
“AB 1437 is a consumer protection bill for the hundreds of thousands of Californians who play daily fantasy sports,” Assemblyman Gray said in support of his bill.
The vote took place after owners of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Galaxy, along with the San Francisco 49ers, urged lawmakers to support the measure.
Team representatives said daily fantasy leagues have helped make professional sports more interactive and interesting to fans.
“Fantasy sports has been an important tool used ... to deepen connections and engagement with our fans,” Clippers Vice President Pete Thuresson said in a letter to lawmakers, whilst Ted Fikre of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which co-owns the Lakers and owns the Kings and Galaxy, wrote in a similar letter:
“AEG is supportive of your efforts to ensure that our fans are enjoying fantasy sports in a protected, regulated environment.”
The bill requires fantasy league operators to undergo suitability checks and register with the state, paying a fee. They are also required to report player winnings to be taxed, generating income for the state.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association commented:
“Fantasy sports helps create more sports fans and more deeply engaged fans. The fans’ engagement allows them to root for teams and athletes in new ways and increases viewership across multiple platforms, which drives revenue for teams and leagues.”
Assemblyman Marc Levine was once again the sole dissenting vote.
Striking whilst the iron was still hot, John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance called for Wednesday’s vote to be followed swiftly by action on bills to legalise internet poker in California.
“The swift passage of a DFS regulatory bill shows that California lawmakers do in fact care about protecting consumers who play games online," the Poker Players Alliance said in a statement.
“Therefore, we urge the legislature to immediately move legislation that also protects Californians who want to player poker online through appropriate authorization and regulation. If legislating consumer protections for DFS players is a priority for the legislature, the same should be true for Internet poker players.”
California's Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has not yet given an opinion regarding DFS legality.
In related news, progress on DFS regulation was also reported Wednesday in Florida, where the Senate Regulated Industries Committee approved SB 832 by a vote of 8-2, and in the state House of Representatives the Finance and Tax Committee approved companion bill HB 707.
The bills declare that DFS is not gambling and create an oversight body intriguingly titled Office of Amusements; operators will pay a hefty $500,000 fee to register, with $100,000 annual renewals, although there is provision for more reasonable charges for smaller operators. Operators will also be required to post a $1 million surety bond against fraud or other failure.
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