Fantasy Sports Now Legal In KansasJune 11, 2015 10:00 am
Almost three years after Maryland legalized fantasy sports, the state of Kansas has now followed suite with HB 2155 having been approved in both The House and The Senate before being signed into law by state Governor Sam Brownback.
Gambling on games of chance is specifically prohibited by Kansas state law, and last summer the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) ruled fantasy sports to be a game of luck, and therefore an illegal lottery. At the beginning of this year, however, Kansas State Representative Brett Hildabrand challenged the ruling by introducing his piece of legislation, HB 2155, in which it was argued the game was predominantly skill based and therefore should be exempt from Kansas’s anti-gambling laws. As an extract from HB 2155 reads:
“..all winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individual athletes in multiple real-world sporting events.”
Fortunately for fans, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt subsequently agreed that fantasy sports was a game of skill, a decision which was apparently bolstered by the fact the 2006 UIGEA contained a carveout specifically excluding fantasy sports leagues from its legislation.
Up until now no Kansas player has been prosecuted for illegal fantasy sports gambling, and Star Fantasy Leagues has been the sole operator to withdraw from the state’s market, leaving most of the other brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel to offer their products to state residents. Nevertheless, the passing of HB 2155 has clarified fantasy sports previously uncertain legal terrain in Kansas, and reassures state residents they are not violating any laws by participating in the online fantasy sports.
Other states with similar legislative efforts currently underway include Washington, Iowa, Montana Indiana, and Louisiana.