Paddy Power Betfair acquires FanDuel after US Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting in the US
Paddy Power Betfair has acquired US fantasy sports company FanDuel following the striking down of a federal law prohibiting sports betting in the US

 

Paddy Power Betfair has acquired US fantasy sports company FanDuel following the striking down of a federal law prohibiting sports betting in the US.

US Supreme Court decision

On 14 May 2018 the United States Supreme Court (Supreme Court) struck down a federal law which prohibited State-authorised sports betting in most US States. Although sports betting was not a federal crime, the federal ban prevented State legislatures from regulating for sports betting. However, legislation was passed in New Jersey purporting to introduce authorised sports betting in the State. The New Jersey law was subsequently challenged to the Supreme Court on the basis that it violated the federal ban on sports betting. 

The Supreme Court found that the federal ban on sports betting was unconstitutional. It further held that if the US Congress chose not to regulate sports betting at a federal level, each State was free to enact its own laws legalising sports betting. Shortly after the decision the New Jersey Sports Wagering Act legalised sports betting on professional and collegiate sports at casinos and racetracks in New Jersey. Other states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have also passed sports betting laws which will go into effect upon adoption of licencing and regulatory measures.

Paddy Power Betfair Acquisition of FanDuel

Within ten days of the Supreme Court judgment, Paddy Power Betfair plc (PPB) announced the acquisition of a 61% share in FanDuel, an online fantasy sports game with over 40% market share of the US daily fantasy sports market. PPB will retain an option to grow its share in FanDuel to 100% in five years. The acquisition remains subject to customary regulatory and competition reviews and is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of 2018. 

Gambling in Ireland

Operators must be issued with a licence from the Revenue Commissioners before they can operate as bookmakers in Ireland under the Betting Act 1931 (as amended) (the Betting Act). Both "high street" retailer bookmakers and online bookmakers can operate under the Betting Act. In contrast, the new sports betting law in New Jersey limits sports betting to racetracks and casinos.

Future developments in Ireland

The Gambling Control Bill 2018 (the Bill) was introduced before the Oireachtas by Fianna Fáil on 21 February 2018. The Bill proposes to establish a gambling regulator and to provide a comprehensive new licensing and regulatory framework for gambling in Ireland. The Bill will now proceed to the Committee Stage to be considered by the Select Committee on Justice. 

Contributed by Patrick Murphy

 

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