International edition
June 15, 2021

Bill to "clarify a confusing and ambiguous law"

Texas lawmakers step up efforts to legalize DFS

Texas lawmakers step up efforts to legalize DFS
Lawmakers in Texas are starting an effort to explicitly legalize and regulate paid-entry fantasy sports with H 1457. That such an effort was forthcoming was not a secret, as the author — Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo) — indicated last year that
United States | 02/02/2017

Lawmakers in Texas are starting an effort to explicitly legalize and regulate paid-entry fantasy sports with H 1457. That such an effort was forthcoming was not a secret, as the author — Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo) — indicated last year that he would introduce legislation.

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ldquo;HB-1457 will clarify a confusing and ambiguous law and affirm that fantasy sports are legal in Texas,” said Raymond, according to a group called the Texas Fantasy Sports Alliance. “The government should not be limiting the freedom of Texans to participate in fantasy sports contests, which are clearly a game of skill, not chance.”

Other sponsors include:

Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin)

Rep. Rodney Anderson (R-Grand Prairie)

Rep. James White (R-Hillister)

Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown)

“I am proud to support legislation that protects Texans’ right to participate in fantasy sports contests, while preventing unnecessary government involvement in Texans personal lives and pocketbooks,” Kuempel told the TFSA.

The stakes are higher in Texas than they are in many other states.

About a year ago, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared that DFS constituted illegal gambling under state law. That led to FanDuel leaving the state as part of a settlement with the AG. DraftKings, meanwhile, has a case against Paxton regarding his opinion while it continues to operate in the state

Texas is just the latest of a variety of states looking at DFS legislation early this year. Eight states legalized DFS in 2016.
Texas does not have much in the way of gaming now, with one tribal casino, a lottery and pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog races.

The legislation is in the mold of many bills that have been floated or passed around the country. But it is much less stringent than many of them.

Some key points:

  • Defines fantasy sports contests as a game of skill, apart from gambling.
  • Institutes consumer protections, such as a ban on employee play and preventing minors under the age of 18 from competing.
  • Gives oversight to the AG’s office.

It does not appear that there is any registration or licensing component for operators. That means no fees or taxes.

There is also no provision regarding segregation of player funds from operational funds. That revelation comes just a day after a DFS operator filed for bankruptcy while owing players more than a million dollars.

The bill must be passed by a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the Texas statehouse to take effect immediately. Otherwise it would take effect on Sept. 1.

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