Good news came to West Virginia daily fantasy sports players this week. On Monday, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey declared that DFS games were legal in the state. The move comes on the heels of a handful of states such as Colorado and Missouri regulating DFS while other states such as Delaware have taken a hard line on the contests.
In Morrisey’s opinion in West Virginia, he concluded that the popular fantasy sports games did not meet the state’s threshold of gambling due to the amount of skill involved in the contests. “We read state law to prohibit only betting upon games decided at least predominantly by chance.” The opinion reads that “fantasy games, as defined in Senate Bill 529, are not wholly or predominantly decided by chance.”
Despite the fact that daily fantasy sports were declared lawful, the bill did note the need for future regulation. In its conclusion, the opinion stated that “as with novel question of law, the best course of action may be for the Legislature to pass a law that speaks directly to the lawfulness of fantasy sports games” and that regardless of whether that the games are legal or illegal that they are subject to important consumer protection laws.
The decision comes after West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole’s asked Morrisey for the state’s opinion of the legal of the games. Earlier this year, a bill passed in the state Senate but progress was quickly halted in the Delaware House of Delegates. Last year the West Virginia Lottery Commission had previously said it would watch how other state’s handled the issue.
Since that time, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee have regulated daily fantasy sports. Other states have went the other direction and restricted or declared the games unlawful under state law, including Hawaii, New York and Nevada.
No major DFS site had banned play from the state of West Virginia but the news was still welcome news for DraftKings and other DFS sites. A statement from DraftKings read, “DraftKings is pleased with the opinion of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey that daily fantasy sports are games of skill and lawful in the state. The opinion is also welcomed by tens of thousands of daily fantasy sports fans in West Virginia who enjoy the fun and excitement of our competitive games. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with elected leaders and state officials to ensure the best experience possible for our players.”
With many states acting on DFS of late, West Virginia surely wont be the last state we hear from his summer.