Nevada gaming regulators ruled this Thursday that unlicensed daily fantasy sports websites are banned from providing services to customers from the Silver State, as they’ve determined that the activity is in line with sports betting. The order filed by the Gaming Control Board stated that such DFS websites as FanDuel and DraftKings may apply to gain a Nevada gaming license if they would like to continue operating as a sports pool. The Board issued a “cease and desist” order, which bans all fantasy sports websites from operation in Nevada.
A.G. Burnett, who is the chairperson of the Gaming Control Board, stated that all daily fantasy activities must cease and desist operation. Those who do not follow these orders would face felony fines and up to 10 years of prison time.
Daily Fantasy Sports a Sports Pool?
Nevada has declared daily fantasy sports to be a sports pool, which means that their business revolves around accepting bets on sports games through a method of betting. The Board has determined that putting money on certain players is still a type of wager, and because DFS sites accept these wages, they are essentially a sports pool.
Hope For Fantasy Sports in Nevada
Since unlicensed DFS has been declared illegal in Nevada, unlicensed operators must halt their services immediately, including DraftKings and FanDuel. Though, that doesn't necessarily mean that DFS will become non-existent in Nevada, since licensed sports book operators are still allowed to provide the service. That being said A.G. Burnett, the Gaming Control Board Chairman has stated:
they should exercise discretion in participating in business associations with daily fantasy sports operators that have not obtained Nevada gaming approvals. We're not saying they can't do it. We're saying they can do this as long as they have a gaming license.
Statement from FanDuel:
FanDuel, which is one of the two Daily Fantasy Sports titans made a statement on Thursday night:
[we are] terribly disappointed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has decided that only incumbent Nevada casinos may offer fantasy sports. This decision stymies innovation and ignores the fact that fantasy sports is a skill-based entertainment product loved and played by millions of sports fans. This decision deprives these fans of a product that has been embraced broadly by the sports community, including professional sports teams, leagues and media partners. We are examining all options and will exhaust all efforts to bring the fun, challenge and excitement of fantasy sports back to our Nevada fans. In the interim, because we are committed to ensuring we are compliant in all jurisdictions, regrettably, we are forced to cease operations in Nevada.
Statement From DraftKings:
DraftKings, another leader in the DFS world, stated:
We understand that the gaming industry is important to Nevada, and, for that reason, they are taking this exclusionary approach against the increasingly popular fantasy sports industry. We strongly disagree with this decision and will work diligently to ensure Nevadans have the right to participate in what we strongly believe is legal entertainment that millions of Americans enjoy.