The Toronto-listed Fantasy Aces suspended trading in its shares on Wednesday pending a major announcement. On Thursday, the company announced that Fantasy Draft would be acquiring its player base and their respective account balances.
A message on the Fantasy Aces website alerted players that the transition will be complete within five business days. Fantasy Aces has canceled all its upcoming contests and entry fees will be refunded to player accounts.
It was only last September that Fantasy Aces was on the other end of the acquisition game, taking on the player base of rival Fantasy Feud. The frantic deal-making reflects the concerns of the DFS sector’s minor players that they’ll need all the liquidity they can get to compete with whatever we’re calling the soon-to-be-merged DraftKings-FanDuel combo.
DFS IS GAMBLING, ALREADY
Meanwhile, individual US states continue to greet the new year with new DFS legislation. Wednesday brought the introduction of SB 0629 in Illinois, which seeks to amend the Riverboat Gambling Act to enact rules under which “all fantasy sports gaming” in the state is conducted.
SB0629 offers no details on taxation or license fees, but differs from legislative efforts in other states by directly linking DFS with gambling, rather than bending over backwards to call DFS a skill game and assign oversight to a consumer protection bureau rather than gaming regulators.
Thursday brought new “internet fantasy sports contests” legislation in Iowa courtesy of Rep. Guy Vander Linden. House Study Bill 52 places DFS under the jurisdiction of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and would limit DFS activity to players 21 years of age or older.
HSB 52 calls for annual license fees of just $500 and DFS revenue will be subject to a 7.5% tax, while 0.5% of revenue will be earmarked for a problem gambling treatment program, which poses yet another problem for the DFS mantra that it’s not gambling. The bill envisions an implementation date of July 1, 2019.
Mississippi approved DFS last year but the state is only now getting around to crafting the nuts and bolts of regulation. On Thursday, the House Gaming Committee approved HB 967, which puts DFS under the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, limits play to those 21 years or over and imposes an 8% tax on DFS revenue.