What the Supreme Court’s Murphy v. NCAA Decision Means for Fantasy Sports

Published 10 August 2018 By: Richard L. Brand, Glenn C. Colton, Jennifer O’Sullivan

Fantasy Sports

Ever since the United States Supreme Court issued its decision striking down the federal ban on state sponsored sports betting in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)1 this spring, there has been much discussion and speculation on what the decision means for the fantasy sports industry. 

We believe there are two key takeaways.

  • First, the risk that fantasy sports will be considered illegal gambling will be reduced if traditional gambling that was previously deemed illegal is in fact legalized.

  • Second, there is serious risk that state regulators will pursue the easy road, pass a set of “one size fits all” regulations, group fantasy sports businesses together with traditional gambling businesses and thereby subject fantasy sports businesses to onerous regulation well-suited to traditional gambling but ill-suited to fantasy sports.

Fantasy sports businesses must do everything in their power to avoid that “one size fits all” result.

 

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Author

Richard Brand

Richard L. Brand

Rich Brand is the Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office of Arent Fox LLP, and the Chair of the Sports Practice Group. Rich's sports law practice focuses on naming rights, sponsorships, media rights, acquisitions of professional sports franchises, arena/stadium licenses, executive contracts, concession agreements, suite and club seat licenses, and financings for teams and facilities. Rich has represented numerous professional teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, DC United, Inter Milan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, Madison Square Garden Company (the owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers), Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, New York Jets, Oklahoma Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Capitals, and the Washington Wizards. Recent examples of Rich's experience include representing the University of Southern California and Fox Sports in a naming rights transaction with United Airlines, the Seattle Seahawks in a naming rights transaction with CenturyLink, the Miami Dolphins in a stadium naming rights transaction with Hard Rock, the Los Angeles Lakers in a naming rights and health provider rights deal with UCLA Health, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment in an arena naming rights transaction with New York Community Bank, Inova Health System in a training center naming rights transaction with the Washington Redskins, and the Brooklyn Nets in a media rights agreement with YES Network. In one of the more prominent recent non-sports naming rights agreements, Rich represented the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in San Francisco in a transit center naming rights transaction with Salesforce.

Glenn Colton

Glenn C. Colton

Glenn Colton is a partner in Arent Fox’s New York office where he focuses on white collar criminal and complex civil litigation, as well as government and internal investigations. Glenn represents clients in investigations and actions brought or conducted by Federal, State and local authorities including the US Department of Justice, US attorneys' offices, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, state attorneys general and local district attorneys. Drawing on his nearly 10-year tenure as an Assistant US attorney in both the criminal and civil divisions in the Southern District of New York, Glenn represents a variety of companies, ranging from Fortune 500 to private companies, and individuals in complex civil litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country.

Jennifer O’Sullivan

Jennifer O’Sullivan

Jennifer O’Sullivan is a partner in Arent Fox’s Sports group where she serves as a trusted advisor to sports leagues, teams, and media and technology companies. She specializes in the representation of professional sports leagues, teams, media and technology companies, investors, promoters, hospitality companies and sports, entertainment, and lifestyle agencies. Jennifer counsels sports and entertainment clients on issues ranging from mergers and acquisitions and other transactions to sponsorships, advertising, media matters, league formations and restructurings, and all forms of commercial agreements, including licensing, merchandising and promotional agreements, venue, vendor, and other special events agreements.

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