Today, State Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) have announced that the Ohio Senate has passed House Bill 132. That legislation, which Dever and McColley sponsored, grants consumer protections for the millions of Ohioans who participate in fantasy sports contests, as well as providing sensible standards to ensure the industry operates in a transparent and accountable manner.

House Bill 132 was developed and carefully drafted in coordination with Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, stakeholders from the fantasy sports industry and Ohio fantasy sports participants.

“I am pleased to see the Ohio Senate take action on this important legislation to protect millions of Ohio consumers,” Dever said. “It is critical that common-sense protections are in place for fantasy contest participants, while maintaining an environment that allows this emerging industry to grow within our state.”

The legislation updates antiquated state laws to make it clear fantasy contests are legal in Ohio and installs important consumer protections. Together, these reforms aim to create a clear set of regulations fantasy sports companies must follow to operate in Ohio. Ten other states have recently passed similar legislation, and dozens of other states are moving in the same direction.

“House Bill 132 takes steps to protect the rights of millions of Ohioans who engage in the fantasy contest industry,” McColley said. “This bill strikes a balance of consumer protections and economic growth, ensuring that all fantasy sports businesses, large and small, continue to operate and thrive in our state.”

HB 132 defines a “fantasy contest” by using the guidelines already defined in federal law (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.), which specifically states fantasy contests are legal contests of skill. This would remove any doubt about the legality of fantasy contests in Ohio. It also installs light-touch consumer protection regulations that all companies operating fantasy sports contests in Ohio must follow, utilizing rules established and enforced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Other provisions include:

  • Ensuring players are 18 or older

  • Requiring all fantasy game operators to be licensed by the state

  • Offering introductory on-boarding 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 at all times

The bill now returns to the Ohio House where it awaits further consideration and a potential concurrence vote.

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