Posts in Sports Betting
2019 Sports Law Hot Topics to Watch

The annual January tradition I know y’all look forward to is here - my predictions on what will be the hottest of the sports law hot topics! I settled on selecting six topics this year, and I must say, it was wonderfully hard to narrow down the list because there is a lot of meat we will get to digest over the next 12 months. (Disclaimer: I think #1 will be the hottest of the hot, but that may be my bias talking since that is one of my main wheelhouses!)

That said, I would also like to remind those of you who may be newly acquainted with the concept of “sports law” that, in all honesty, there is technically no such thing as “sports law,” per se. Rather, what a handful of attorneys and I do is specialize in understanding and zealously advocate to resolve diverse legal issues that take place within the sports industry because the law often treats sports in a special way relative to pretty much every other industry out there.

Keep reading for a brief descriptions of each topic’s current status, why I am including it on this list, and a few Twitter handles to follow for the latest news and analysis throughout the year:

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Reviewing My "2018 Sports Law Hot Topics to Watch" Predictions

Congratulations, y'all. We made it through 2018! Per our usual routine here on the Sports Law Blonde blog, let’s review the 2018 sports law hot topic predictions I made back in January to (a) see whether there has been any ground made, & (b) if not, speculate on why that might be the case. So, I straight up copy-and-pasted my previous blog post and added my new comments and wisdom at the end of each section in this type style.

LET'S DO THIS.

Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year:

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2018 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch

Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year:

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Reflecting on My "2017 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch" Predictions

If Deflategate's courtroom battles placed "sports law" into mainstream conversation in 2015-2016, then 2017 gave sports law an entire fleet of those Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen [Note: If you do not understand the reference, I encourage you to click the link.] As we step - no, run - into a new year embracing all the change that is more likely than not going to occur, I would like to put the past twelve months into perspective and reflect on what I predicted would be the sports law hot topics to watch in 2017, what happened and what did not, and see whether the topics attained some means of closure. All in all, I can proudly say that my umbrella picture that 2017 would be a continuation of prevalent sports law trends was pretty accurate.

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2017 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch

In retrospect, 2016 was not half bad. Well, it was more like 60-65% bad, but the year undoubtedly had its moments, good and bad!

I believe in many ways that 2017 will be a continuation of things in one direction or another rather than a birth of entirely new topics, especially in the sports law realm. Part of the reason I believe this is because of the incoming US President's opinions and involvement in certain areas. Another part is due to the basic timeline of league and player contracts in the "Big Four" (NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) so that instead of big changes in the relationship statuses taking place, upcoming practices acting upon and interpreting those contracts will create news and continue to add to existing sentiment. Without further ado, here are six hot topics we should keep an eye out for throughout 2017.

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An Update on the State of Michigan's Stance on Daily Fantasy Sports

Although a desired solution may be to have nationwide regulations and oversight, if we take one look at our federal legislature in its current state, there is clearly no way they will clarify the law regarding DFS anytime soon. This leaves states in a tricky position because there is still some uncertainty as to how effective or durable state laws on DFS - if and when enacted - will be. State-by-state laws are the settled on short-term solution to the legality of a growing industry's operations. The law needs adequate clarification as soon as possible.

Many states are taking initiative and pushing legislation regarding daily fantasy sports (DFS) hoping to clarify where the industry operates under the law. Virginia led the way as the first state to regulate fantasy sports with its Fantasy Sports Act, requiring DFS operators to (a) enforce a minimum age of 18 to play, (b) register with the designated regulating department, (c) pay a $50,000 registration fee, and (d) take various consumer protection steps such as securing player data and funds as well as preventing operator employees and their immediate family members from playing. Last week, two more states took large steps. Indiana became the second state to regulate fantasy sports with a law that (a) designates fantasy sports as a game of skill, (b) created a division to oversee paid fantasy sports within the state, (c) mandates a $50,000 licensing fee (though that initial fee could increase in the future) followed by a $5,000 renewal fee, and (d) specifically bans fantasy sports contests involving college football and basketball, which makes sense because betting on college sports is illegal under current federal law. Also, Massachusetts has DFS regulations moving through its legislature that is publically supported by DraftKings and FanDuel and hits big on combating the vulnerable with consumer protections like requiring a minimum age of 21 years old to play and instilling "truth in advertising" standards in addition to those akin to Virginia's protections.

For those in my home state of Michigan, we are left to deal with outdated law and a passive movement dragging its heals holding onto weak proposed legislation that will likely never pass. Senate Bill No. 459, which seeks to legalize fantasy sports in Michigan, is a flop.

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Will Your NCAA Tournament Bracket Be Legal in the State of Michigan?

Saying that the NCAA Tournament and bracket pools do not go together is like saying that I-75 and "10mph over the posted speed limit" do not go together. We know it happens. Law enforcement knows it is the norm. We may or may not realize it stretches legal limits. We do it anyway.

The recent hype over the legality of daily fantasy sports is directing a lot of attention toward relevant state and federal law. With respect to Michigan's point of view on the matter, it gets a little risque. I have written on Michigan's stance on daily fantasy sports as of 2015, but making brackets is a different type of simulation that is also forced to live under an outdated rule.

How does Michigan law view your March Madness tourney bracket?

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Sports Law Topics to Follow in 2016

*For a stellar review on all of 2015's exciting happenings in the legal world of sports, check out my friend Ian's article here. For what I predict to be some of 2016's hot topics, read on!*

The year flew by like LeBron James in his Camero,

But we must finish the final stretch like American PharOAh.

From fifa's corrupt achilles to Brady's deflated ball,

I bet you thought you've seen it all.

The law never rests, in the court or on the field,

So you know many cases have yet to be sealed.

but since 2015 had stories that became routine,

We can prep and glance ahead at 2016!

Summary:

  1. Fantasy Sports

  2. Transgender Participation in Athletics

  3. NFL Rules & Officiating

  4. O'Bannon & the Student-Athlete Definition

  5. Olympics Anti-Doping Reform

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