Is It Gambling? How States View Daily Fantasy Sports

February 8, 2016
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by Jason M. Breslow Digital Editor
Ly Chheng

If you watched any NFL football this past season, it was hard to miss the near ubiquitous ads for daily fantasy sports websites. The industry has seen huge growth in recent years, with fans betting an estimated $2.6 billion in 2015 alone.

But as daily fantasy sports has grown in popularity, so too have questions about whether the contests are even legal. Industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel say that their products are games of skill that break no laws, but across the country, there’s little consensus on the issue.

The uncertainty has led to a patchwork system in which fans can still play the games in most places, but the answer to whether the games are legal varies from state to state.

As of May 31, 2016, playing daily fantasy sports for money was considered illegal in 12 states. In New York and Texas, for example, state attorneys general said the games broke their gambling laws, while in Nevada, regulators said that without a gambling license, the sites couldn’t operate there.

In at least 20 other states, regulators and lawmakers were either reviewing the legality issue, or working on legislation to clarify the law. Many of these bills, with support from the industry, would allow daily fantasy sports to continue, albeit with new oversight. In the rest of the country, the sites have either been declared legal, or there was no pending legislation.

So what is the law in your state? Explore the map below to find out.

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