Michigan Gambling Regulators Call Daily Fantasy Sports ‘Illegal’
Michigan’s top gaming regulator believes that daily fantasy sports are illegal under his state’s gambling laws and is setting up what could be a potentially important battle for the rapidly growing DFS industry.
Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) executive director Rick Kalm made the comments earlier this week, according to a report on LegalSports.com.
Kalm’s comments come as Michigan, and other US States, grapple with the legality daily fantasy sports. At the core of the issue is the battle over whether DFS is a game of chance or a game of skill.
Michigan also happens to be one of a handful of states where the threshold for legal versus illegal gambling hinges on the outcome/prizes, rather than the cost of entry. (Other states that fall into that category include Delaware, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Washington, and Vermont.)
So far, Kalm’s statements haven’t had an impact on Michigan residents’ ability to access daily fantasy sports sites.
If Michigan regulators decide DFS are illegal, it could set up some awkward moments for fans attending Michigan-based pro-sporting events. After all, all four of Detroit’s professional sports teams have signed sponsorship deals with either Fan Duel or DraftKings.
The Michigan case points out the challenges gaming regulators and lawmakers are having (and have always had) keeping up with new technologies and innovations from the igaming industry.
Most states do, in fact, allow exemptions to sports betting laws for traditional fantasy sports, but very have taken steps to clarify where daily fantasy sports, and their large prize pools, fit into the picture.
What happens in Michigan could serve as a template for states across the US as they figure out exactly how to regulate daily fantasy sports.