Bill set to establish guidelines for fantasy sports in New Mexico

While the legality of daily fantasy sports remains ambiguous, New Mexico House Majority leader is pushing for a bill that would regulate their activity.

The Main Point

Fantasy Sports have long dwelled in a sea of uncertainty; while many states are pushing for the prohibition of companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, others are arguing that on a federal level, this cannot be classified as gambling. Fantasy sports companies charge participants an entry fee for tournaments and pay the winners a financial award. As a result, fantasy sports were explicitly exempt from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 because the winners rely on skill and not chance for their earnings.

New Mexico Gaming Control Board has not declared if the New Mexico Gaming Control Act specifically gives fantasy sports a legal status in the state. Donovan Lieurance, acting executive director of the board vaguely declared that “in New Mexico, all gaming is prohibited unless spelt out as being allowed by the New Mexico Gaming Control Act,” while House Speaker Don Tripp, was unclear on when the Attorney General’s Office would be able to provide an opinion on the matter.

Looking For Clarity

House Majority Leader, Nate Gentry, who implicitly believes fantasy sports to be legal activity, filed Bill HB 314 – The Fantasy Contests Act that look to regulate such gaming areas to ensure protection of the participants in New Mexico. Genrtry stated that the fantasy sports industry approached lawmakers across the country to help them define the structure in which they can continue to operate while offering players protection against fraud. This bill calls for the Secretary of State’s Office to enforce civil penalties of up to $1,000 per offence.

Operators are to ensure that all participants are over the legal age of 18, employees and their family members are prohibited from partaking in contests and players and coaches involved are prohibited for participation in their specific sports. Both New Mexico and New Mexico State Universities already ban their players and coaches from participating in fantasy sports in their specialized areas.

Furthermore, fantasy sports companies are to ensure that only publicly available information and statistical data are shared, sufficient funds are always available to pay the winners and that they agree to pay for a third-party audit every year to warrant compliance Gentry’s bill that could offer consumer protection for fantasy sports’ contestants, was in introduced last Tuesday and is currently with the House Rules & Order of Business Committee awaiting further progress.

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