JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Daily fantasy sports can continue in Missouri but will be regulated under a measure signed Friday by Gov. Jay Nixon, making the state one of the latest to legalize the practice.
When the new law takes effect in August, the state Gaming Commission will have oversight of daily fantasy sports. Websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel will need to pay an annual operation fee of 11.5 percent of net revenues from state participants to operate in Missouri, as well as an annual licensing fee of $10,000 or 10 percent of revenue, whichever is lower. Money from the fee will go toward education.
“When a new frontier of online betting is available at the touch of a screen, we have a responsibility to protect consumers and young people,” said Nixon, who during his January State of the State address called upon lawmakers to pass rules for the games.
Season-long fantasy sports teams compete over months, but the practice now regulated in Missouri is based on how players perform over a day’s, week’s or weekend’s worth of real-world games.
Missouri was one of several states debating the role of skill and luck in those daily games and whether that type of fantasy sport should be regulated or banned.
It is now one of seven states to enact legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports, according to National Conference of State Legislatures policy associate Jake Lestock. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also signed a bill Friday to legalize the games.
On the other hand, attorneys general in 11 states have said the games are illegal, according to Lestock, although legislators in two of those states - Mississippi and Tennessee - passed laws to legalize them. He said attorneys general in Massachusetts and Rhode Island say it’s legal.
In Missouri, daily fantasy players must be at least 18 years old and operators of the games must give players the option to ban themselves. It prohibits contests based on college, high school and youth sports.
The measure received bipartisan support in the Legislature, passing 131-13 in the House and 20-10 in the Senate.
Republican Sen. Ed Emery, of Lamar, voted against the bill and said Friday he had concerns about expanding “what at least appears to be vice.”
“There’s probably sufficient gambling opportunities in the state,” Emery said.
Fellow Republican Sen. Bob Dixon, of Springfield, also voted against the bill and said Friday that he was worried about imposing internet regulations “without more fully understanding what we were going to be doing.”
The final version of the legislation, which Sen. Joe Keaveny had said was a deal with Nixon and daily fantasy sports companies, was voted on in the final days of the session, which ended May 13.
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