Colorado Amends Proposed Fantasy Sports Rules Changes Ahead of Monday Hearing

Colorado Amends Proposed Fantasy Sports Rules Changes Ahead of Monday Hearing
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Colorado Division of Gaming plans to hold a hearing Monday morning regarding rules changes it’s proposing for fantasy sports operators.

It’s an issue regulators in the Centennial State have been discussing and receiving feedback for months, and Thursday, the division released an updated draft that makes it clearer it wants to prohibit fantasy sports operators from offering “pick ’em” contests where entrants pick several athletes and choose whether they will hit certain statistical thresholds. In those contests, entrants play against the operator rather than fellow entrants. Their winnings are dependent on the number of their correct selections.

Those changes come after both FanDuel and DraftKings submitted comments to the proposed changes. If enacted, Colorado would join several states that have recently taken action against operators that offer single-player contests, critics of which claim it is actually just sports betting — which is legal in the state at Colorado sportsbooks — offered under the guise of fantasy sports. The hearing is scheduled to start at 9:15 a.m. MT and can be watched online.

FanDuel, DraftKings Speak Out

The biggest changes from Thursday’s update come under the section titled “Authorized Fantasy Contests.” The previous iteration said that “contests that include parlay style wagers that are stacked wagers on single athletes against fantasy contest providers shall be prohibited.”

The new language reads: “Fantasy contests where patrons compete against fantasy contest providers are prohibited.”

In addition, the new changes strike out wording on “proposition style” contests. The changes add that outcomes must be based on the sum of the athletes’ fantasy points. Both FanDuel Colorado and DraftKings noted state law in their requests for changes to that section. The two sports betting giants began as fantasy sports operators years ago and still offer a variety of fantasy sports contests in Colorado and other states.

“This provision of the Fantasy Contests Act clearly requires multiple participants. First, the section references ’relative knowledge and skill.’ This clearly contemplates the relative skill among multiple participants in the contest — not a single participant playing against the house,” wrote Andrew Winchell, FanDuel’s director of regulatory affairs, in a letter dated Sept. 22.

What Happens Next

After Monday’s hearing, there will still be several steps the Division of Gaming — which also oversees sports betting in Colorado — will need to take before the new rules take effect.

The next step would be for the division to formally adopt the rules. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, that must happen within 180 days of the last hearing. Then, the rules must be submitted to the Attorney General’s office. After the Attorney General issues an opinion, the new rules must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office within 20 days after the rules are approved. The rules become effective no sooner than 20 days after they’re published in the state register, which is released twice monthly.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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