Mississippi Governor Signs DFS Legislation

Daily fantasy sports betting now is legal in Mississippi, the 12th state to allow the games following Governor Phil Bryant's (l.) signature on House Bill 967. Operators must pay $5,000 for a three-year license and pay an 8 percent tax on revenue. DFS company employees and individuals under age 18 may not participate.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently signed House Bill 967 allowing daily fantasy sports, making Mississippi the 12th state to legalize the games. The bill authorizes the Mississippi Gaming Commission to issue three-year DFS licenses to operators for a fee of $5,000. The firms, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, FantasyDraft and Yahoo DFS, must pay an 8 percent tax on net revenues, defined as “the total of all fantasy contest entry fees that an operator collects from all players less the total of all sums paid out as cash prizes.”

Sponsored by state Rep. Richard Bennett, chairman of the House Gaming Committee, the measure gives the gaming commission the authority to conduct background checks on potential daily fantasy sports firms plus annual financial audits. It prohibits DFS company employees and anyone under 18 years of age from betting on DFS games.

Bennett said 12 companies already have expressed an interest in applying for a state DFS license, which would bring in $60,000 in licensing fees and about $5 million in annual tax revenue.

In North Carolina, legislators are considering House Bill 279, which would require DFS companies that require money up front and pay out cash prizes to register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Also, the legislation would require the sites to undergo regular audits, disclose the maximum number of entries any single player can submit to any contest and comply with requests to bar individuals from participating. DFS operators would pay a registration fee every five years based on gross profits.

North Carolina’s proposed law doesn’t stop anyone from offering fantasy sports, and it wouldn’t apply to players or commissioners, just to the companies that run the games. Operators breaking the law would face fines and the possible suspension or revocation of their registration.

Besides Mississippi, DFS betting is legal in Virginia, Rhode Island, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and West Virginia. Besides North Carolina, 22 other states are working on legislation to allow DFS games. They have been banned in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington.

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