On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board ( NGCB) decided to rule that daily fantasy sports will require a license if companies are going to operate in the state. The board ruled the activity a form of gambling, with the Chairman of the NGCB, A.G. Burnett, stating all daily fantasy operations that are unlicensed must stop immediately as of yesterday.
An operator who continues to offer such gaming will face felony charges which will include fines and as much as 10 years in prison. Any operator is invited to apply for approval to have a gaming license in the state. Burnett spoke with ESPN last night, stating that the board has ruled daily fantasy sports are considered gambling under the statutory definition.
Burnett went on to state that the activity is a sports pool, in which someone has a business and accepts wagers on sporting events, with a system or wagering method. In response to the ruling, FanDuel, one of the top fantasy sports operators, stated that they are ‘terribly disappointed’ in the ruling that only ‘incumbent Nevada casinos’ have the right to offer fantasy sports.
The FanDuel Director of Communications, Justin Sacco, stated in a press release: “This decision stymies innovation and ignores the fact that fantasy sports is a skill-based entertainment product loved and played by millions of sports fans. This decision deprives these fans of a product that has been embraced broadly by the sports community, including professional sports teams, leagues and media partners.”
Sacco further stated that FanDuel is looking into their options and will find a way to bring fantasy sports back to fans in Nevada. In the meantime, the company will remain compliant to the ruling by the board. DraftKings, an additional top operator of daily fantasy sports, also disagreed with the ruling and will also be working to continue to provide the activity while still being compliant with the ruling.
Burnett pointed out that operators of daily fantasy sports believe that they are hosting a game of skill and that the activity is not gambling. However, the argument of skill versus chance does not play a role in the decision by the board. Burnette stated that the statutes and definitions in Nevada override the idea that “gambling” is determined by skill versus chance.