Nevada Says Fantasy Sports Must Have a Gambling License

The state's Gaming Control Board knows a game of chance when it sees one -- and it sees one.

Nevada Says Fantasy Sports Must Have a Gambling License Photo (cc) by PhoenixREGuy

How much skill does it take to play fantasy sports? Not enough, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

In a ruling released Oct. 15, the board declared that daily fantasy sports games are a form of gambling. As such, companies that sponsor such games, such as FanDuel or DraftKings, must have a gaming license to operate within the state.

In fantasy sports, players pay a few dollars and then choose a roster of pro sports players. The players’ performance is then tallied and compared against the performance of other virtual teams. Winners can sometimes bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Companies that sponsor the games argue that they are games of skill, not chance, and as such should not be regulated as gambling. They point to Nevada’s entrenched gambling industry as pushing for the regulation. The companies said they disagree with the ruling and will suspend Nevada operations, however, they hope to find a way to operate in the state again.

Nevada is not the first to ban the sites. Arizona, Louisiana, Montana and Washington states all forbid fantasy leagues, and Massachusetts and New York, along with the federal government are investigating them.

The ruling is the second bit of bad news in recent weeks for the industry. Earlier in October, The New York Times reported that some employees of the sites had been using information not available to the public to help them make bets, a situation some likened to insider trading.

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