Why is daily fantasy legal but not sports?

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest DFS sites, claim that, since fantasy sports are based on the skill of the competing player, they are not games of chance and general state gambling laws do not apply to them. With this rejection will surely come new developments and, hopefully, some clarification as to how far one can go before the proposed fantasy sports prize structure becomes illegal.

Why is daily fantasy legal but not sports?

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest DFS sites, claim that, since fantasy sports are based on the skill of the competing player, they are not games of chance and general state gambling laws do not apply to them. With this rejection will surely come new developments and, hopefully, some clarification as to how far one can go before the proposed fantasy sports prize structure becomes illegal. To operate a legal fantasy sports gambling league, prizes awarded through the league must be disclosed to participants before each contest begins. And as with fantasy sports leagues, the legal treatment of sports pools will also vary from state to state.

Remember that the game of Fantasy Sports is legal in some jurisdictions because it is considered a game of skill. In this publication, we will discuss the relationship between state and federal gambling laws, as well as two characteristics of legal fantasy sports gambling under the Internet Gambling Illegal Enforcement Act (the “UIGEA”). Listing doesn't necessarily mean it's a state where DFS is illegal, and delisting also doesn't guarantee that fantasy sports are legal in the state. Ultimately, the reason sports betting took so long to legalize federally was because they had too much baggage and a bumpy history.

This change in public attitudes toward fantasy sports, combined with the growing acceptance of sports betting among the public, helped boost the legalization of sports betting. Previously, I wrote Why playing fantasy sports is legal (for the most part), about the legality of gambling in fantasy sports leagues. It's worth noting that these aren't necessarily states where it's illegal to play daily fantasy sports. Every legal difference between daily fantasy sports (DFS), for example, Underdog Fantasy, and sports betting comes down to the distinction between gambling and skill games.

But are these pools legal? The Sports Protection for Professionals and Fans Act is a federal law that prohibits sports betting.

Célia Leaverton
Célia Leaverton

Incurable burrito practitioner. Subtly charming tv scholar. Award-winning beer lover. Freelance music practitioner. Typical food scholar.

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