There are now 16 states in the U.S. with daily fantasy sports (DFS) laws on the books after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Thursday, August 24 formally legalizing games like those run by DraftKings and FanDuel.
In early July, a bill that legalized and regulated paid-entry fantasy sports was passed by the Garden State’s legislature. It has, however, sat dormant in the governor’s office since then. That was until Thursday when Christie decided to enact A3532.
Not much will change in New Jersey though, as the majority of DFS operators were already serving the state. DFS had already been declared legal under existing state law by gaming regulators. Going forward, any operator looking to be licensed in the state will have to apply via the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Racetracks and casinos that partner with fantasy sports providers will have to do the same. The Department of Gaming Enforcement, which regulates casino gaming, will not have a hand in fantasy sports regulation.
New Jersey’s new fantasy sports law is not unlike those passed by other states over the past few years. Unlike most of those states, however, the bill does not prohibit fantasy sports based on collegiate sports games. It declares paid-entry fantasy sports a game of skill and states that players must be 18 years of age or older.
Operators will be subject to a 10.5 percent tax on gross revenue derived from the state’s DFS players. Regulators will determine the amount of a permit fee, which is also prescribed. Annual revenue of $5.8 million is predicted by the state Office of Legislative Services, according to The Press of Atlantic City. A number of consumer protections are also instituted by the law, such as mandatory separation of player funds from operating funds, prohibiting employees of DFS operators from play and instituting responsible gaming protocols.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, said, “This puts important consumer protections in place that were missing in the fantasy sports industry.” “This helps keep the games honest and consumers protected,” said Caputo, according to the Atlantic City news agency.
Acting spokesperson for FanDuel and DraftKings, Marc La Vorgna, said in a statement: “The law establishes multiple layers of oversight, placing New Jersey at the forefront of consumer protection nationally, and creating a new source of tax revenue with major potential for growth in the state. On behalf of nearly 1.5 million fantasy sports fans in New Jersey, we want to thank Governor Christie and the legislature – especially Senators Sarlo, Stack and Sweeney and Assemblymen Caputo, Mazzeo, Burzichelli and Brown – for coming together on this bipartisan legislation.”
La Vorgna gave special thanks to Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, who was a primary sponsor of the fantasy sports bill and served, in addition to other public offices, as Atlantic City’s mayor from 1990 to 2001. The 68-year-old Senator passed away after suffering a heart attack at his Atlantic City home on August 22, 2017.
Other states that have enacted fantasy sports laws in 2017 include Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, new Hampshire and Vermont.