Vermont Legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (l.) has signed a law legalizing daily fantasy sports in the state. The bill exempts DFS games form the state’s gambling laws and institutes consumer protections. DFS sites must pay an annual $5,000 registration fee.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has signed a daily fantasy sports law making the state the 12th in the U.S. to adopt DFS regulations.

The Vermont law exempts DFS contest from the state’s gambling laws and sets a $5,000 registration fee for DFS sites through the state’s Secretary of State office.

The bill sets a minimum age of 18 to play DFS games and also restricts the use of computer programs that allow players to gain an advantage.

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest DFS operator that are in the process of merging, issued a statement supporting the law.

“More than 100,000—and growing—growing fantasy sports fans can now breathe easy, as the state has made it crystal clear: fantasy sports are welcome in Vermont,” the statement said. “On behalf of those fans, we want to thank Governor Scott and the legislature, particularly Senators Kevin Mullin and Dick Sears and Representatives Bill Botzow and Michael Marcotte, for updating state law to affirm fantasy sports are legal and establish some common-sense regulations for all companies to ensure consumers are protected. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Scott’s team, Attorney General Donovan and members of the legislature on a final, comprehensive regulatory and tax structure.”

The law, however, does not set a tax rate for DFS sites, instead instructing the Governor’s administration to set a future rate.

The law does clear up a point of contention for the industry. The state’s former attorney general had ruled that DFS contests violate the state’s gambling laws.

In another DFS story, a recent report by Rutgers University in New Jersey found a that most DFS players also regularly play other forms of gambling. The study—which found problem gambling is growing in the state—acknowledged that DFS games have not been officially proclaimed as gambling and are often called games of skill.

The study found, however, that DFS players also reported they were frequent gamblers in other venues, whether on gaming machines, horses, bingo, casino table games or other gambling games of skill.

“Policy decisions regarding DFS regulation should anticipate a very high prevalence of gambling problems in this group and the negative consequences that typically accompany those problems such as employment, legal, relationship, financial, health and mental health problems,” the report said. “It is important to ensure there are prevention, education, and treatment resources developed for and available to this population.”

The survey and report were conducted by Rutgers University’s Center for Gambling Studies.

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