CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released an opinion on Monday that says select fantasy sports games are legal in the state.
West Virginia’s constitution prohibits private lotteries and other games of chance. But Morrisey’s opinion released after a review of state law said cash prizes from fantasy sports games are based upon a player’s skill in selecting athletes and the actual performance of those athletes.
Morrisey said state Senate President Bill Cole requested the opinion after Senate-passed legislation to permit fantasy sports died in the House of Delegates. The bill addressed businesses like DraftKings and FanDuel.
“Fantasy sports games are a bit different than games that are decided predominantly by chance,” Morrisey said. “So if you play fantasy sports that are set up the right way, then this decision makes it clear that you can continue to participate.”
Several states have wrestled with the question of whether the popular games played by millions of Americans should be banned outright or face more regulation.
With the start of the fiscal year July 1, several states imposed new taxes and fees on the games. Virginia and Indiana are charging an initial $50,000 fee for fantasy sports websites to operate in those states. Tennessee is imposing a 6 percent revenue tax on such companies.
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