A Mississippi daily fantasy sports (DFS) law was signed into action on Monday by Governor Phil Bryant, making the Magnolia State the first of 2017 to pass such legislation this year. The state legislature approved the bill earlier this month and sent it over to the governor for a signature.
House Bill 967 is a permanent measure, compared to the expired temporary provision with similar language approved by the state last year.
HB 967 now allows DFS site operators to apply for licensing in Mississippi. The three-year license costs a relatively inexpensive $5,000, and the state will be able to conduct annual audits, as well as the de rigueur background checks, on potential operators.
Major industry players DraftKings and FanDuel will undoubtedly be on board as soon as possible. It was only last November that the two DFS giants were rumored to be merging, but since then, it’s been crickets as far as any forward movement on that front. A recent article in Forbes suggested the stall could be due to anti-trust issues that haven’t been resolved.
Once a license is approved, DFS operators must pay the fee and follow strict rules. An eight percent revenue tax must be paid each year. Employees of a DFS site cannot legally compete in contests. This provision was put in place to prevent collusion and rigged outcomes.
All competitors must be at least 18 years of age. Minors cannot legally play, even though DFS isn’t technically considered a form of gambling in Mississippi.