One of the most conservative states in the US in regards to gambling has now seen a new bill introduced to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports. The Fantasy Contests Act would allow paid-entry contests to take place legally in the state with regulations in place. Companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings will be able to provide services in the state once again. Such companies have been out of Alabama for two years now after Attorney General Luther Strange sent out cease and desist orders in 2016.
The new bill, S 325, was introduced by Senator Paul Sanford and would exclude paid-entry fantasy contests from the gambling prohibitions of the state. The Attorney General’s office would be in charge of licensing as well as regulating the DFS industry for the state. The bill includes provisions that would see a renewal fee of $5,000 for new operators and $85,000 for existing operators who have 5,000 customers or more.
The minimum age for players to take part will be set at 19. Contests cannot take place regarding amateur or collegiate events. Consumer protections would be in place to protect those who take part in DFS, comparable to those used in other states.
The bill was first read on the 20th and is now in the Tourism and Marketing committee. The bill is similar to previous efforts by the Senator going back as far as 2016. Two additional fantasy sports bills were introduced last year, one within the House and one within the Senate. These bills also were unable to move forward.
Alabama is an extremely conservative state, one that does not take part in the lottery and does not offer commercial casino gaming. For some, it seems like a long shot that daily fantasy sports will be legalized. It will be interesting to see if this legislation moves forward and if approved, how long will it take for DFS companies to be up and running once again in the state.