AGBurnett Nevada Gaming Control Board DFS ruling

DFS cease and desist: A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, has let it be known that he regulatory body is the first in America to declare daily fantasy sports to be gambling and ban operators from the state’s online services. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is no longer to be a part of Nevada’s gambling or sports betting palette, per the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (GCB) latest dictum. GCB officials in the Silver State have concluded that DFS is illegal for Nevada online players.

On Thursday, regulators ordered platform leaders DraftKings and FanDuel to discontinue their services to Nevadans, with the Board citing the requirement to have an interactive gaming license both networks currently do not possess.

DFS has been operating across in the country due to the activity’s supposed component of “skill over chance.” But Board Chairman A.G. Burnett disagrees.

“I, along with Board staff, have concluded that DFS constitutes gambling under Nevada law,” Burnett said in a notice. “Because DFS involves wagering on the collective performance of individuals participating in sporting events … a person must possess a license to operate a sports pool.”

FanDuel responded to the decision, saying it’s “terribly disappointed” and that the ruling “ignores the fact that fantasy sports is a skill-based entertainment product.”

Brothels, Gambling, No DFS

Nevada is taking plenty of news space this week, of course, as former NBA star Lamar Odom currently remains in a coma after being found unconscious at a brothel roughly 80 miles outside of Las Vegas.

Prostitution is legal in isolated areas of the state, gambling is legal throughout, but wish to pick a roster of sports players for this weekend’s NFL games and you’ll need to venture elsewhere.

It’s a rather interesting development, but certainly not surprising.

DFS has received much press over the last few weeks stemming from an employee allegedly using company data to win $350,000 on a rival platform.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced earlier this month that his office was investigating the operational procedures of DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s also rumored that a federal grand jury is hearing arguments in Florida on why criminal charges against DFS might be warranted. And perhaps most importantly, the Department of Justice (DOJ), in conjunction with the FBI, is probing DFS.

“It is entirely predictable that the government would follow up on the misleading reports about our industry,” DraftKings said in a statement. “We have no knowledge of the specifics … but strongly disagree with any notion that our company has engaged in illegal activities.”

As Nevada Goes, So Goes the Nation…Probably

Nevada’s decision to label DFS gambling could have a trickle-down effect and prompt other states to follow suit. The growing focus among federal and state officials suggests this could be the beginning of a rather lengthy legal battle for fantasy sports operators.

And that’s because the overall opinion on DFS has unquestionably shifted recently.

“The casino gaming industry has repeatedly called for greater legal clarity on daily fantasy sports,” American Gaming Association P resident Geoff Freeman said of the ruling. “We appreciate that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has provided that clarity.”

With investigations ongoing from Florida to New York and the DOJ also analyzing the issues, further clarity on DFS will be on its way in the coming months.

The fates of DraftKings, FanDuel, and the many other daily fantasy sports platforms sprouting up will now be in the hands of greater powers as each legal decision is made.