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The Legality of Daily Fantasy Sports

Are Daily Fantasy Sports Sites Legal?
By Adam of

The laws of daily fantasy sports vary state by state but in most states, fantasy sports are considered games of skill and are therefore, legal. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was a federal law passed in 2006 that was designed to prohibit internet gambling. However, daily fantasy sports are exempted by this exact wording:

"Participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game or educational game or contest in which (if the game or contest involves a team or teams) no fantasy or simulation team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional sports organization and meets the following conditions:

1. All prizes and awards offered to winning participants are established and made known to the participants in advance of the game or contest and their value is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid by participants.

2. All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals (athletes in the case of sports events) in multiple real-world sporting or other events.

3. No winning outcome is based: a. On the score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single real world team or any combination of such teams; or b. Solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single real-world sporting or other event."

In other words, daily and weekly fantasy games are legal as long as you are not part of the team. Clause number 1 simply demands that prizes be known beforehand. Clause number 2 is the important one that states that it is a game of skill involving knowledge of statistics. And clause number 3 just prohibits any games that involve the scores, point spreads, or performance of one particular game, team, or athlete (some may interpret this as meaning you cannot play in a fantasy game that is just one game, like the Super Bowl). In short, since it is a skill game, it is not considered gambling.

This federal law, the UIGEA, is meant to override state laws, but since some state legislatures make that point unclear, most fantasy sites just choose not to allow members from those states to play, as a means to avoid any legal hassles. The states of Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Vermont and Washington are currently those states in question and are prohibited from most daily fantasy sports sites.


So, do you have anything to worry about? No. Is playing on a daily fantasy sports web site legal? Yes, if you do not live in Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Vermont and Washington. Why? Because daily fantasy sports are games of skill. Yet these states have a few laws that dispute this fact.

Daily fantasy sports is growing at an amazing rate and some estimate that by 2020, it will be a $2.5 billion industry! So get in while it's hot, while the promotions are juicy, and while it is still in its earlier stages of growth. There's a boom coming. Do you want to be in or out?

Daily Fantasy Sports Blocked States Chart

Which states are allowed to play daily fantasy sports and which aren't? Do some sites allow states while others do not? Your answers are in the chart below! (If your state is not listed, it has no restrictions)

Fanduel DraftkingsDraftdayStar FantasyFanNation (Si)Fantasy Score (USA Today)
North CarolinaAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedAllowedAllowed
North DakotaAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedAllowedAllowed
South CarolinaAllowedAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedAllowed

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