Virginia’s governor just signed the nation’s first daily fantasy sports law

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe just signed into law the “Fantasy Contests Act,” which is a legal framework for fantasy sports providers that operate in the state.

The bill, which was approved by the Virginia legislature a few weeks ago, makes Virginia the first state in the nation to impose state-led oversight of the industry. The state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service will be the state entity that oversees the industry.

The bill will require fantasy sports sites to pay the state a $50,000 registration fee, and implement policies to verify that all participants are 18 years of age or older. It also requires player funds to be segregated from a company’s operating funds, and bans employees of fantasy sports sites from competing in public fantasy sports contests.

The bill is a win for companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, which have been trying to convince states to legalize daily fantasy sports.

While the two companies operate in the majority of U.S. states, the legality of daily fantasy sports is still unclear in a number of locations. Some state attorneys general have even stated they believe the industry constitutes illegal gambling.

Interestingly, not all players in the fantasy sports industry are happy about the bill passing.

Some smaller season-long fantasy sports operators are arguing that the $50,000 registration fee will force them out of the state, and that the legislature is incorrectly grouping season-long and daily fantasy sports into the same category.

Griffin Finan, Director of Public Affairs for DraftKings, issued the below statement acknowledging the signing of the bill:

“Today, Virginia became the first state in the nation this year to put in place a thoughtful and appropriate regulatory framework to protect the rights of fantasy players. We thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership and advocacy and are hopeful that other states across the country will follow Virginia’s lead. We will continue to work actively to replicate this success with dozens of legislatures and are excited to continue these efforts.”