Texas DFS Bill Falls Short As A Path To Legal Sports Betting Appears

By Steve Ruddock 

Texas daily fantasy sports bill

To the dismay of many, daily fantasy sports legislation in Texas has been scrapped, putting DFS companies operating in one of the most populous states in the country in legal peril.

In non-legislative DFS news, one of the biggest sports betting firms in the world, Paddy Power Betfair, has entered the DFS market after its acquisition of Draft.

On the sports betting side of the ledger, three paths to legal sports betting in the United States have been outlined.

DFS legislation update

Failure of bill puts DFS in Texas in jeopardy

A late push to pass a DFS bill in the Lone Star State has come up short.

The failure of the bill puts DFS companies still operating in the state in a precarious situation, as Texas is one of the state’s where the legality of daily fantasy sports has been called into question.

“Paid daily ‘fantasy sports’ operators claim they can legally operate as an unregulated house, but none of their arguments square with existing Texas law,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a prepared statement. “Simply put, it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut.”

The legal standing of DFS in Texas will likely remain a point of argument for the foreseeable future.

New Hampshire Senate committee holds DFS hearing

In addition to the important development in Texas, New Hampshire’s DFS bill is once again on the move.

The bill has already passed the House and is now in the Senate Finance Committee, where a hearing took place this week.

The hearing was called to discuss HB 580, a bill that would legalize DFS in the Granite State.

The DFS bill tally

The number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 still stands at 24. But with Texas falling by the wayside, the number of states with active legislation has been reduced to 19:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Hawaii
  7. Illinois
  8. Iowa
  9. Kentucky
  10. Maine
  11. Minnesota
  12. Montana
  13. Nebraska
  14. New Jersey
  15. New Hampshire
  16. North Carolina
  17. Ohio
  18. Oregon
  19. Pennsylvania
  20. Rhode Island
  21. Texas
  22. Vermont
  23. Washington
  24. Maine

Legal Sports Report’s legislative tracker has up-to-the-minute updates on all DFS legislation.

PPB acquires DFS startup Draft

One of the more interesting developments in DFS happened this week when Paddy Power Betfair announced it had acquired Jeremy Levine’s DFS startup Draft.

The acquisition could shake up the DFS hierarchy, as PPB has the budget to compete with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. However, as Chris Grove notes, the deal may be less about DFS and more about getting a foot in the door in the US should sports betting’s legality change.

Sports betting legalization update

Grove also weighed on sports betting this week, penning a column titled: Here’s How (Most Of) America Will Get Legal Sports Betting.

In the column he lays out three ways legal sports betting could become a reality in the US:

  • The spread of fantasy sports legislation
  • Aggressive – but legal – products will blur the cultural and legal definition of sports betting
  • Pressure for legal sports betting will increase in the courts

Bet at 5dimes

Sports betting legislation

Eight states are fighting for a repeal of PASPA, or pre-committing to legalizing sports betting if federal sports betting laws were to change:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Michigan
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Carolina
  8. West Virginia
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