Hargett says state ready to enforce new law regulating fantasy sports companies offering gambling

NASHVILLE - A state agency has a new name and rules in place to regulate a recently passed law legalizing fantasy sports betting in Tennessee.

The state Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming, housed in Secretary of State Tre Hargett's office, is now the Division of Charitable Solicitations, Fantasy Sports and Gaming.

The Fantasy Sports Act of 2016, pushed by gaming companies DraftKings and FanDuel, legalized the companies' existing gambling operations within the state. Sports fantasy sites that allowed wagering sought the law here and in other states as a number of states began cracking down on what by law was illegal gambling.

The new law requires fantasy sports operators to obtain a license with the division. The license requirement applies to fantasy sports operators who offer daily and season-long contests that charge players an entry fee to assemble imaginary teams and subsequently offer prizes as a result of the outcome of those games.

But the reporting, registration and regulatory burden is on the companies only. There are no reporting requirements for players.

Moreover, operations with free games where players do not pay an entry fee to win a prize are also excluded from the law.

"Tennessee is one of the first states to enact legislation specifically addressing fantasy sports contests," Hargett said Tuesday in a news release. "We look forward to ensuring operators follow the law to offer a new level of consumer protection for Tennesseans who choose to play these online games."

Licensing requirements include submitting financial documents and maintaining segregated player funds.

Complaints submitted to the division will be investigated. The division plans to work in conjunction with the Tennessee attorney general's office, state Department of Revenue and various law enforcement and state agencies to enforce the law.

Violators could face civil penalties.

A copy of the law, application and complete set of rules can be found at sos.tn.gov/fantasysports. Anyone with questions can email fantasy.sports@tn.gov or call (615) 253-6658 for more information.