Kevin Seawright Talks Economic Impact of New Jersey’s Daily Fantasy Sports Bill

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have proven to be popular in New Jersey, however, remained operated with no close supervision and protection for players until recently when Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law—legalizing the activity. This means that New Jersey becomes the 16th state to specifically legalize daily fantasy sports.

Kevin Seawright, a New Jersey economic expert, believes that allowing this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators will ensure strong consumer protections and economic benefits to the state. The DFS law basically requires that all operators apply for a permit through the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety. With this new law, operators are taxed at a rate of 10.5 percent of the gross revenue generated within New Jersey, and it is predicted that the state could reap an annual $6.6m in revenue from the activity.

It is, however, required that operators have at least one server in Atlantic City, and most importantly, set a minimum age of 18 years for players.

Interestingly, the NJ law does not ban the DFS games based on college sports. But this is not the case with other states that have already legalized the DFS as they don’t allow such contests. Nevertheless, the law does not prohibit the spread of such action on high school sports.

Kevin Seawright points out that the law establishes a number of consumer protections— puts in place responsible gaming practices, bans play by employees of DFS operators, forces operators to draw the line between the operational funds and player funds, etc.

DFS is a game of skill, not under the umbrella of gaming statutes

State gaming regulators declared daily fantasy sports as a game of skill, and the operators have been hosting a lot the competitions since legalization took effect. DraftKings and FanDuel operators, for instance, have been able to operate without applying for a gambling license. The first one to get in on the DFS action though is the Resorts Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, which launched FastPick DFS in July—thanks to the absence of gambling laws that restrict the spread of activities.

Since Gov. Chris Christie had previously expressed uncertainty regarding DFS, it is believed that the skill-game term was the key to allow him to sign the bill into law.

Why are most states easily pushing through DFS bills in contrast to poker and casino games?

Poker and casino fans are not lucky as the legalization efforts have, for years, not been able to find their way to the governors’ desk in most states, including New Jersey. It is unclear as to why political figures in different states are happy to pass DFS bills when compared to poker and casino gaming. Most online poker advocates believe that DFS skilled-based notion is likely the major reason.

What could the legalization mean for New Jersey going forward?

This new law is, without a doubt, a step forward in New Jersey as it will lead to greater appreciation of what the state regulations can do for a betting-based industry. Ultimately, the political figures may want to consider legalizing other forms of online gambling, which could help generate more taxes for the government.