Gov. Phil Bryant Adds Mississippi To The Family Of States With Legalized DFS

Mississippi legal daily fantasy sports
Last week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 967 into law, fully legalizing online daily fantasy sports (DFS).

Mississippi has allowed legal play on daily fantasy sports since July 2016, but a “sunset” clause would have let the law expire this year.

The experiment with legal DFS has been judged a success. On Feb. 9, the Mississippi Senate voted to approve HB 967, which got rid of the sunset clause. The House quickly followed suit and with the governor’s signature, the new law will come into force on July 1.

Mississippi is small DFS market but low costs are attractive

The Mississippi law does not demand excessive fees or taxes, making it attractive for operators to seek an official license.

$5,000 buys a three year license, and gaming taxes on revenues are set at a comparatively cheap 8 percent. Revenues are 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.”

Mississippi’s population of just under three million is not too small to make it a viable market for DFS operators, and the low fees and taxes will work as an extra inducement.

Ten states have passed daily fantasy sport betting laws

Mississippi is one of ten states to have passed laws to regulate DFS, the others being:

  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

In February 2016 in West Virginia, Bill S 529 passed a vote in the Senate, but it was not adopted by the House of Delegates.

Since then the state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, weighed in with his opinion that DFS as defined in the S 529 bill was already legal under existing state gambling laws:

“We conclude that West Virginia does not prohibit the offering of or participation in fantasy sports games, as they are defined in Senate Bill 529. We read state law to prohibit only betting upon games decided at least predominantly by chance.

Fantasy sports games, as defined in the Senate Bill, are not so decided.”

There is a similar situation in Rhode Island, where Attorney General Peter Kilmartin pronounced, “Although we believe that DFS does implicate certain provisions of existing civil and criminal statutes, it is the opinion of this office that Daily Fantasy Sports may currently operate legally in the State of Rhode Island.”

DFS now legal in roughly one-fifth of the US

The total population of the states where DFS has now been declared legal or legalized by new law is in excess of 60 million, approximately 20 percent of the total US population.

There is a long list of states where there is at least one bill that has been presented to the legislature. Fully 22 states are at least some way along the process of making laws that specifically authorize DFS.

They are:

DFS is on a regulatory roll, and the expectation is that quite a few of these states will authorize DFS during 2017.

Joss Wood

About

Joss Wood writes for a number of publications in the online gambling sphere. With a special focus on international markets, he writes for LegalSportsReport.com, OnlinePokerReport.com, and others. He also centers on sports betting, esports betting, and the emergent regulated US online gambling industry.