May’s Industry Recap: DFS Legalization, Paypal, eSports and More
The fight to legalize the daily fantasy sports industry lives on, as evidenced by a recent meeting with members of Congress, as well as several talking heads for specifics sects in the daily fantasy and online gambling realms.
While the hearing didn’t set forth any new federal legislation (and may never) it’s just another reminder that state and federal government continues to roll over the DFS stones to see just what is happening, how and why.
The silver lining, at least for now, is that some states have already deemd DFS legal and several others are taking proper action to at the very least dig deeper into whether or not DFS is actually legal, or go over and beyond to officially legalize and regulate the industry.
Per reports, six states have already passed bills to regulate daily fantasy sports to this point and by year’s end, five more could follow.
The plight to figure out what DFS means to the United States lives on elsewhere, as well, with 35 states pushing forward with legislation addressing the DFS society, one way or another.
Of course, there are others that are putting up stops to keep the entire nation from enjoying daily fantasy sports. Illinois is the latest.
Illinois Shelves DFS Bill
Illinois lawmakers were set to act on a recent DFS bill in the state, but any forthcoming decisions have now been delayed. The bill isn’t officially “dead” but for the moment it certainly loses any momentum it had been garnering.
The bill, HB3655, aims to set up numerous guidelines, including controlling who can or can’t play (specifically DFS employees). Licensing and tax fees are also included in the bill. While currently shelved, Illinois could pick talks regarding the bill back up as earlier as this summer.
Idaho Says No to DFS
While the momentum is building in a positive direction for daily fantasy sports, that doesn’t mean the industry still won’t have it’s roadblocks. A big one lies in Idaho, where lawmakers have decided state law holds up against DFS and has booted top operators DraftKings and FanDuel from the state.
Idaho Attorney General Larwence Wasden announced in early May that FD and DK had both agreed to exit the state, on findings that Idaho law deems any risk of money for financial gain to be illegal.
Per the agreement between Idaho and the main DFS operators, the sites will use new geo-technology to block all Idaho customers from depositing cash or playing in paid contests. This could still be a temporary slip-up for DFS, of couse, as Wasden conceded that DraftKings and FanDuel would be free to start back up in the state the moment Idaho opted to change their stance on the industry. For now, however, Idaho residents will have to find a new source of entertainment.
Michigan Talks Online Gambling
Michigan explored talks covering online gambling in early May, a conversation that touched on legislation that could authorize online casino and poker operations in the state.
Testimony was provided by Senator Mike Kowall, who introduced bill SB 889. Kowall also made strong statements regarding 22,000 potential jobs and added benefits of legalized online gambling in the state. The panel had mixed reactions to Kowall’s numbers, although Kowall was unable to produce concrete projections.
No vote was taken, which could be troubling, given that state officials are expected to officially adjourn talks come June 16th.
BetClic Everest in Portugal
Portugal just got it’s first online betting operator since providing a freshly regulated market. BetClic claims their online Portugese offerings will be namely for the Portugese market, but all Portgese-speaking customers will be accepted.
— Summit iGaming Malta (@iGamingSummit) May 31, 2016
Sports betting figures to temporarily be the only form of online betting allowed at the moment, though online poker and casinos are also regulated and simply require an additional license.
The news comes after Portugal finalized regulation just last year, a move that saw the ever popular PokerStars withdraw from the country.
Betfect Adds Second Big Partner
Social betting platform Betfect took another positive step in both credibility and expansion, as they added popular sports betting company William Hill to their list of partners.
William Hill joins Ladbrokes, giving Betfect two legit gambling power houses to lead them into the future as partners. The move could put Betfect in position to become the top social betting network, where bettors can interact and post bets, all in one hub.
Ladbrokes Merger Hits Wall
Speaking of Labrokes, a recent merger with Gala Coral has been temporarily paused as the company decides how to unload numerous betting shops.
The two companies aim to merge in Britain, but per reports, Ladbrokes may need to get rid of up to 400 shops so the numbers match up and the merger can be completed. No other snags were caught by the CMA, leaving open the door to a completed merger at some point this summer.
Billy Walters Charged
Renowned sports bettor Billy Walters was charged with inside trading earlier this month. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York tossed allegations Walters’ way, accusing him of using privileged information to pull off trades from 2008 to 2014.
Those expected trades involved Fortune 500 company Dean Foods and also tied in pro golfer, Phil Mickelson. The trades were said to net Walters over $32 million. Mickelson claimed to not be aware of doing any wrong, and wound up agreeing to giving back nearly $1 million earned via information after a conversation with Walters.
Walters faces chargers that range from conspiracy to securities and wire fraud and could be facing up to 20 years in prison. Mickelson has already reached a deal with the SEC and isn’t likely to face any former legal action.
Vegas Eyes eSports
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Vegas has it’s sights set on taking advantage of the budding eSports industry. Vegas has long held numerous sporting and gambling events and will be looking into how they can both hold such events with eSports in the future, and also tie betting into the equation.
To this point, eSports betting isn’t the issue, as betting on the sport is completely legal in the state of Nevada. However, Vegas still isn’t sure on how to combine hosting and betting, considering a large majority of eSports contestants and fans are under the age of 21. A decisions is expected to made at some point in August.
Paypal Alters Payments Approach
Paypal made an announcement this month that they would be changing their payment protection restrictions. Despite having switched back to allow some online gambling and crowd sourcing platform payments, Paypal has reverted course and plans to detatch itself from any gambling or crowd sourcing related entities.
It’s not an overly surprising development in the gambling spectrum, seeing as Paypal was largely removed from the online betting world for years. The real hit comes to crowd sourcing websites like KickStarter or GoFundMe. Customers will now be tasked with paying in another, likely less than secure manner.
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