February 4, 2016 / 10:15 PM / 3 years ago

Fantasy sports legal in Rhode Island, attorney general says

Attendees of the DFS Players Conference listen to a speaker discuss being successful in daily fantasy sports betting in New York November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - Paid fantasy sports games are legal in Rhode Island, the state’s attorney general said on Thursday, urging legislators to develop laws to regulate the fast-growing industry.

The games, in which players assemble rosters of real athletes and win points and money based on how they perform in real-world competitions, contain elements of both skill and chance, state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said.

The multibillion-dollar industry, dominated by DraftKings and FanDuel, has attracted more regulatory scrutiny over the past year, with officials in states including New York, Illinois, Texas and Nevada challenging their legality.

The challenges have typically hinged on whether daily fantasy sports are games of chance that run afoul of state gambling laws.

“It is clear that DFS, like most games, is a mixture of these factors,” Kilmartin wrote in an open letter to Governor Gina Raimondo. “Nevertheless, it is my very strong suggestion that the legislature, this year, enact a statute which governs the operation of DFS in this state.”

That law, Kilmartin said, should ensure that criminal organizations do not get involved in the games and that underage players are barred.

The attorney general of neighboring Massachusetts has proposed a series of regulations on the games, which would ban people under 21 from playing, prohibit the promotion of the games on college campuses and shut down games based on college sports.

Through an attorney, DraftKings said it agreed with Kilmartin’s call for state regulation of the games.

“We are working actively with legislators in Rhode Island and across the country to enact thoughtful and appropriate regulations that allow our fans to continue enjoying the contests they love,” said David Boies, an attorney for the company.

Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by David Gregorio

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