Breaking News Concerning Fantasy Sports Betting

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blogpost3-18Today is a big day for fantasy sports betting in New Jersey. On Friday, it was announced that Atlantic City casinos would be allowed to offer fantasy sports betting and this morning the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement released its temporary fantasy sports regulations.  While we will have to wait for the complete regulations to be handed down, the temporary regulations contain several important features:

  1. Fantasy sports tournaments will not be considered “gaming” or “gambling” under New Jersey law.  This carve out is consistent with the regulatory trend to categorize fantasy sports as games of skill based on the sports knowledge of each player, thereby exempting them from most gambling laws, which are premised on chance or luck.
  2. Players will be permitted to place wagers and collect their winnings in any manner approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, including mobile wagering and deposit account systems.  This provision appears to allow players to place bets and receive payouts online, as opposed to requiring players to be physically present in Atlantic City casinos.
  3. Players will only be able to place wagers on the statistical performance of their fantasy team, not on the performance of individual athletes or on the outcome of games.  This regulation stems from the on-going federal lawsuit brought by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to allow point-spread sports betting in New Jersey’s casinos and race tracks.  Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp struck down a New Jersey statute allowing point-spread betting, ruling that it conflicted with federal law, specifically the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act of 1992.  Governor Christie has filed a notice of appeal and it is expected to be heard by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 3rd District in Philadelphia later this year.
  4. Atlantic City casinos can offer the fantasy sports games themselves or partner with companies who have already been offering fantasy sports betting in other parts of the country/world.  Any such casino partners will have to register as vendors pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-92c.
  5. Players have to be 21 years of age or older to partake in fantasy sports betting.

For those reading this and already planning to make some quick money on college basketball’s March Madness tournament, we have some bad news… the regulations will not become effective until April 22, 2013.  However, that will be just in time for the NBA playoffs and the MLB season.

This New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement development should be of interest to all gaming attorneys and those interested in sports gambling law in general.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or pursuing an online fantasy sports gaming venture, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

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