Now legal in N.H., daily fantasy sports sites set for kickoff

  • FILE- In this Sept. 9, 2015, file photo Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston. The daily fantasy sports industry has contracted starkly since questions about the legality of online games offered by companies sparked court and legislative battles across the U.S. last year. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File) Stephan Savoia

Monitor staff
Published: 8/10/2017 11:39:44 PM

The start of the NFL regular season – now less than a month away – also means the beginning of the busiest time of year for fantasy sports sites across the Web. 

A new law signed by Gov. Chris Sununu this summer officially made online daily fantasy sports legal in New Hampshire, where it previously was stuck in a regulatory gray area since the industry came on the scene about eight years ago.

The law is specific to daily fantasy sports, a subset of the traditional format where participants deposit money with the site and select players for one day rather than draft a team for a full season. Participants can win a payout depending on their team’s collective statistical performance. 

You might be familiar with the big names in the industry. The Boston-based company Draft Kings rolled out in 2012, just a few years after FanDuel in 2009. Now, several sites offer daily fantasy sports and state legislatures are still playing catch-up. Legislators in Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have passed similar legislation. Maine did as well just this week.

New Hampshire’s new law doesn’t change much for the players who log in and put their money on the line, but the state will regulate these games. The companies facilitating them will be required to register with the state, though they will not be taxed.

“It really gives a bit more authority over fantasy sports here in New Hampshire,” said Laura McCann, a spokeswoman for the Lottery Commission who estimated about 200,000 people participate in daily fantasy sports in the state.

The law demands DFS sites uphold common consumer protection practices, such as keeping operational and player funds separate and offering guidance to players who may need assistance with compulsive gaming habits. If a company does not meet the Commission’s requirements, their registration to operate in the state can be terminated.

The law is limited to daily fantasy sports, which is defined in the legislation as a simulated game where winning is a reflection of “the relative knowledge and skill” of the participant. Placing a wager on a game’s outcome is still illegal in the state and can result in a misdemeanor.

“Our authority is limited to registering these entities who will be accepting an entry fee for these various types of fantasy sports betting that the organizations offer,” said Valerie King, who will oversee the agency regulating fantasy sports in New Hampshire. “Anything outside of that, we do not have any authority. We are given the authority to register these and if they are found not being compliant to the statute, we can pull their registration.”

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