Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Real-Life Fantasy Sports Law: Enter the Lobbyists

Back in August, I blogged about the proliferation of the fantasy sports industry and whether certain fantasy sports games might violate state gambling laws. I also posted a draft of my newest law review article: "A Short Treatise on Fantasy Sports and the Law."

Since then, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association ("FSTA") has announced the hiring of Travis McCoy, a former aid to Senator John Boehner (R-Ohio), to serve as its first official lobbyist. According to USA Today, the FSTA "still is deciding what states it will target first."

The FSTA's hiring of a lobbyist is noteworthy on several levels. First, it signals an acknowledgement by the industry that certain state gambling laws are unfavorable to fantasy sports. In addition, it shows the early stages of collective action within the fantasy sports industry.

It will be interesting to see if the FSTA’s lobbying efforts will target only state gambling laws that disallow fantasy sports leagues, or if they will also target state laws that limit fantasy websites' administrative fees. For example, Montana law currently limits fantasy sports websites to charging 15% in administrative fees. This limit is probably unpopular with fantasy sports businesses. However, it is intended to protect fantasy participants.