Sandoval wants gaming policy committee to take up daily fantasy sports

Gov. Brian Sandoval wants the state's Gaming Policy Committee to address daily fantasy sports, an activity that was effectively banned by gaming regulators last fall unless it was offered by licensed company.

In an order filed with the Secretary of State's office Friday, Sandoval reconvened the 12-member committee and asked the group to come up with a policy for daily fantasy sports, the legality of which has become the topic of debate in several states.

"There is no better place in the world to host this important conversation than Nevada, and I look forward to working with this committee and its stakeholders to continue to set the pace and standards for global gaming industry," Sandoval said in a statement.

Daily fantasy sports was a booming enterprise until October, when Nevada gaming regulators — based on a state Attorney General's opinion — said the activity constituted sports wagering under Nevada law. The Gaming Control Board said daily fantasy sports websites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, can apply for a Nevada gaming license to operate a sports pool. The Control Board issued a "cease and desist" order that banned the websites from accepting entries from Nevada-based customers.

According to the Attorney General's analysis, the Control Board determined that daily fantasy sports involves "wagering on the collective performance of individuals participating in sporting events." To "expose" the websites for play in Nevada, the operator would need a sports pool gaming license.

The Control Board decision goes against the arguments made by daily fantasy sports companies that they are games of skill and not gambling. The daily fantasy sports sites also said they were not bound by the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits financial transactions associated with online wagering.

Other states, including New York and Illinois, have begun investigating the daily fantasy sports market.

In addition to daily fantasy sports, Sandoval wants the committee to look at the status of the state's interactive gaming agreements, new gaming devices, skill-based games and other gaming industry innovations.

"Nevada has always been the epicenter for global gaming entertainment, regulation, and innovation," Sandoval said. "The industry is constantly changing as more states and countries enter into this increasingly competitive field, and I believe the changes we are witnessing demand the attention of Nevada's policy leaders."

By law, the governor chairs the Gaming Policy Committee, which includes members of the legislature, gaming regulators, gaming license holders, a tribal representative and members of the general public. Sandoval reconvened the committee in 2012 to provide recommendations on how Nevada can best regulate interactive gaming. Prior to Sandoval's action in 2012, the full group had not met since the 1980s.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find @howardstutz on Twitter