Participation in fantasy sports has dramatically increased throughout the years especially with daily fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel providing services to millions of participants every day. Louisiana is one of five states where participating in fantasy sports for money is clearly against the law. Louisiana outlawed gambling by computer in 1997, which would include participating in fantasy sports for money. Violators of this law are subject a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and six months in jail.
State Rep. Joe Lopinto is attempting to create an exception to Louisiana’s gambling by computer statute. It would permit fantasy sports for money via House Bill No. 475.
The bill amends §90 Gambling:
“D. Participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game, educational game, or contest as provided in R.S. 14:90.3(J) shall not be considered gambling for the purposes of this Section.”
In addition, the bill amends §90.3 Gambling by computer:
“J. Participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game, educational game, or contest shall be considered gambling by computer for the purposes of this Section, if all of the conditions are met:
(1) No fantasy or simulation sports team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional sports organization.
(2) All prizes and awards offered to winning participants are established and known to the participants in advance of the game of contest, and the value of the prizes or awards is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid by those participants.
(3) All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominately by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals in multiple real-world sporting or other events.
(4) No winning outcome is based on either of the following:
- On the score, point-spread, or any performance or performances of any single real-world team or any combination of such teams.
- Solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single real-world sporting or other event.”
This is not the first time that legislators attempt to legalize fantasy sports in the state of Louisiana. In 2010, a bill was on the floor to legalize fantasy sports for money, but it failed. State Rep. Joe Lopinto states, “the new law mirrors the same exemptions for fantasy sports carved out by the federal government in 2006, in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” and will not encounter any issues getting passed.
Emily Lane, The reality of fantasy sports? It’s illegal in Louisiana when stakes are involved, NOLA (Apr. 17, 2015, 2:25pm), http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/fantasy_football_illegal_louis.html
House Bill No. 475 by Representative Lopinto http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=936311