Thursday, 6 September 2012

Is Kansas Softening on the Legality of Fantasy Sports?

With the 2012 NFL season kicking off this week, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission has given an early indication of a change to its view on the legality of fantasy football.

As I noted in my 2012 Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law article, A Short Treatise on Fantasy Sports and the Law, Kansas has traditionally been a high-risk state for operating fantasy football leagues based on language appearing on the state's Racing and Gaming Commission website that indicated "chance predominates over skill in fantasy sports leagues" and that "if a fantasy sports league has a buy-in (no matter what it is called) for its managers and gives a prize, then all three elements of an illegal lottery are satisfied."

However, as of this morning, this cautionary language no longer appears on the Kansas Racing Commission website. In addition, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission's Frequently Asked Questions page now omits any discussion about the legality of fantasy sports.

Although language on the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission website is merely advisory, its recent removal in conjunction with the website's overall renovation signals a possible backing away from the state's earlier hard-line stance against fantasy football. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that two of the largest providers of pay-to-win fantasy football games -- CBS Sports and Yahoo! -- had allowed entries from Kansas, even despite the previous cautionary language.

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