Amaya to limit fantasy sports in US pending state regulation

20 October 2015

Amaya has announced that it is to limit its StarsDraft daily fantasy sports (DFS) brand from operating real-money games and tournaments in most US states following a review of recent developments in various jurisdictions.

As reported by iGaming Business, Nevada last week ruled that DFS companies cannot operate in the state without a valid gambling licence.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) ordered unlicensed DFS activities in the state to cease by October 15 until such time as either the Nevada Revised Statutes are charged or such entities acquire the necessary licences to offer DFS services in the state.

StarsDraft was one of many DFS operators that responded to the ban by stating that it would comply with the ruling and cease operations in Nevada.

However, Amaya has confirmed that the brand will take this a step further by limiting its overall activities in the US.

In a statement, Amaya confirmed that StarsDraft will withdraw from Nevada and Florida – where a Grand Jury has been convened to investigate whether DFS is in breach of state law - but said customers will have access to funds in the online accounts and can withdraw money at any time.

“We have previously called for state regulation and licensing of DFS to ensure consumer protection and strict government oversight of operators,” Amaya said.

“Prior to the launch of StarsDraft and based on a thorough review of the regulatory environment at the time, Amaya decided not to launch StarsDraft in jurisdictions where many of our competitors continue to operate today, including Michigan.

“We recently withdrew from Florida and Nevada, where last week the respected NCGB determined DFS operators in that state are required to obtain a gaming licence from the NGCB.

“We will actively monitor developments and work with all states interested in implementing clear guidelines for the operation of daily fantasy sports in their jurisdiction.

“In the meantime, StarsDraft intends to focus operations in states with favourable existing daily fantasy sports guidance, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Kansas and Maryland.”

The move comes at an uncertain time for DFS in the US, with the market having attracted heavy criticism in recent weeks over certain activities.

DFS operators DraftKings and FanDuel recently revealed that a manager at the former inadvertently released data on fantasy teams for the NFL American football league and won a major cash prize through FanDuel.

Both operators face a class action lawsuit in the US, while New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an inquiry into the companies to establish the advantages DFS staff may have gained using data to win prizes on competing operators.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal newspaper has also reported that the US Department of Justice and the FBI are in the early stages of investigating daily fantasy sports operators.

As a result of the criticism, both DraftKings and FanDuel have now banned staff from taking part in DFS competitions with rival operators.

Related articles:

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US DoJ, FBI to probe daily fantasy sports - report

DraftKings and FanDuel face class action lawsuit

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