Local Fantasy Sports Startup Will Have to Leave Va. Market Due to New Legislation

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Syde website logoBased in Arlington and D.C., Syde is an early-stage fantasy sports startup that’s hoping to make daily fantasy sports betting more fun and accessible for casual fans. While the company is optimistic about its future, for now it looks like that future will not include customers in its home state of Virginia.

Legislation just passed by the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe will formally legalize and regulate paid fantasy sports games, declaring them to be games of skill rather than chance. Virginia is the first state to pass such a law, but there’s a catch: fantasy sports companies now have to pay an initial $50,000 fee in order to legally serve customers in Virginia.

Syde co-founder Ryan Huss says the fee is cost-prohibitive for a startup like his. While the company will maintain its largely home-based presence in Arlington, the law will bench the Virginia-based players they’ve signed up.

Speaking to from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Huss said the company is talking to lawyers but expects that it will be game over for Virginia players “probably in the next couple of months.” The company’s efforts to bring awareness to the issue via Twitter were too little, too late, as the General Assembly wrapped up its marathon session.

“The most concerning thing for us is that this is going to rule out anybody but the biggest two players” — industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings — “and maybe some media companies,” said Huss.

Syde teams screen (Courtesy of Syde)We profiled Syde in November and it has since grown to a few hundred active users while purposely staying somewhat under the radar. Two weeks ago, satisfied that a market exists for its product, Syde launched the “2.0” version of its app, which allows hassle-free daily fantasy play for all four major U.S. sports, instead of just football. Entry fees range from $5-100. Someone who pays a $5 entry fee can win $9 in a head-to-head matchup.

Next up for the company: cranking up its bootstrapped marketing efforts, pitching investors and reincorporating as a Delaware corporation, as many growing companies do.

“Our plans are to continue to get users on the current product and add features with user feedback and grow with demand,” Huss said. He’s hoping that other states don’t go the same route as Virginia, creating big barriers to entry for small companies.

“Given how complicated the current daily fantasy sports products are right now, I think the casual sports fan is really eager to see innovation and new products,” he said. “Not everybody is a stats geek… and most casual sports fans never will be. That’s why this legislation is so concerning. Innovation is desperately needed here but [this law] is only allowing the duopoly to exist.”

Recent Stories

Everyone has flat screen TVs already so how about a more interesting Black Friday special? The ARLnow Press Club for free, to try out the daily Early Morning Notes email…

There’s not a whole lot going on in Arlington today, save for activity at local shopping centers, so we’re going to fast forward right to the top story countdown. Here…

Statues of Liberty gives thanks this holiday season and grateful for a few things this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, Arlington!

It’s turkey time. Thanksgiving Eve is upon us and extra revelry can be expected at some local bars tonight, ahead of the holiday. Please be careful on the roads and…

The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 76th annual Christmas tree sale!

This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 25th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to huge 14 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garlands, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.

100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.

For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at

Submit your own Announcement here.

Art House 7 is a small art studio in Arlington – offering instruction in painting, ceramics, sewing and more. We are looking for kind, dedicated people who love both creating and teaching.

Ceramic Teachers are needed to teach wheel-throwing to adults and 6-12th graders and to teach hand building to elementary grades. Classes have 3-8 students.

Drawing teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. For kids, we offer cartooning, manga or traditional drawing. For adults, we only offer traditional drawing.

Painting teachers are needed to teach either kids or adults. We offer oil, acrylic or watercolor for adults or teens. All elementary classes use acrylic and tempera.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist

Tony Woods Live – Standup Comedy Showcase

Live Standup Comedy Starring the Legendary Tony Woods!
Arlington, VA
Friday, November 25

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Doors at 7pm)
Crystal City Sports Pub (3rd floor lounge)
529 23rd Street South, Arlington, VA
$15 – General admission
$20 –


Subscribe to our mailing list