Wisconsin has gambling laws in place that make it illegal for any sort of betting, lottery or gambling related operations but Republican Tyler Vorpagel believes that this law should not be applied to the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry as it does not fall under the category of being ‘games of chance’ but ‘games of skills’.
A number of states including Nevada, New York and Illinois turned their focus on the DFS industry towards the end of 2015 as they debated this very topic. However New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan came to the exact opposition conclusion stating that the DFS games were similar to casino games and therefore must operate only if they have a gambling license.
FanDuel and DraftKings, two of the biggest DFS operators in the U.S have faced strong opposition in these states but subscribe to Vorpagel’s view that their games have nothing to do with gambling. Vorpagel has put together a new proposal that would allow DFS operators to function in Wisconsin if they were willing to pay a one-time registration fee and thereafter annual renewal fees.
The new proposal states that any DFS operator in Wisconsin who decides to provide fantasy games to a crowd of more than 750 gamers must make sure they register with the state Department of Financial Institutions. The one time registration fee would be fixed at $150,000 and the annual renewal fee would be fixed at just $30,000.
In a statement, Vorpagel said “Recent news reports and legal actions taken in other states makes it clear to me that it is important to codify into Wisconsin Statute that (daily fantasy sports) continues to be a legal activity and provide for a certain amount of regulatory oversight and consumer protections for the numerous participants in Wisconsin.”
The new proposal from Vorpagel makes it clear that DFS games cannot be clubbed as lotteries or betting and hence will not be subjected to the state gaming laws that ban such activities. The DFS industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and one of the main reasons why states like Nevada and New York want to legalize the industry is because the state would bringing in significant revenue in the form of gambling taxes.
Vorpagel’s proposal requires very small amounts as registration fees and there will be no gambling taxes imposed. There is no clear indications as of now as to how much support Vorpagel’s bill will receive as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have not commented on the new bill. Vorpagel is pushing for the bill to be reviewed before the end of February but Fitzgerald has indicated that the bill will most likely be discussed and wrapped up during March.