Schmidt introduces bill to clarify fantasy sports law and protect player rights

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The rights of 1.6 million people who play fantasy sports in the state would be protected under legislation introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Wayne Schmidt.

Senate Bill 461 would clarify outdated state laws and update regulations to reflect the latest technology and new ways residents enjoy this massively growing pastime.

“New technology has made fantasy sports more popular than ever,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “For 1.6 million Michiganders, this activity has become a major way they enjoy sports and a way to connect with friends, family and co-workers.

“It makes sense to ensure that residents are able to enjoy fantasy sports under a regulatory framework that includes some basic consumer protections, similar to the rules in place for many other industries that interact with large numbers of consumers.”

Schmidt’s bill would update the law to maintain that fantasy sports contests are legal in Michigan, create a simple set of regulations for fantasy contest operators to follow to operate in the state, and put in place rules to protect Michigan fantasy sports players.

Ten states have recently passed similar legislation, and 21 other states are moving in the same direction.

The bill’s consumer protections would be established and enforced by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and would include:
• Requiring players to be 18 or older;
• Requiring all fantasy game operators to be licensed by the state;
• Offering introductory onboarding for new players;
• Prohibiting any contest based on a collegiate or high school sport or athletic event;
• Restricting employees of fantasy sports contest companies from playing;
• Requiring “highly experienced players” to be clearly identified for all users to see;
• Disclosing the number of entries a player may submit to each contest and the number of total entries allowed for each contest;
• Taking measures to protect the privacy and online security of players and their accounts;
• Keeping player funds separate from operating funds;
• Ensuring player money is accessible to the players at all times; and
• Requiring fantasy sports operators to make resources relating to compulsive behavior available and allow any player to self-exclude from further fantasy contest play.

SB 461 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.