States That Have Legal Daily Fantasy Sites
Determining the states with daily fantasy sports (DFS) can be tricky, as the site operators frequently change their service areas. This is not by choice but is due to the uncertain legal climate for daily fantasy sports in the United States. Even though DFS is not under the same umbrella as sports betting and is not even considered to be gambling in many municipalities and jurisdictions, it still has its own legal battles to face on a state-by-state basis. With the rapid rise in popularity of DFS, state legislators have had conflicting opinions on whether not the contests are legal – or even whether or not they should be legal! Though operators like DraftKings and FanDuel consider their contests to be games of skill, some states are still categorizing DFS as a form of gaming. This is what causes the inconsistency across state lines.
Instead of having to search through gaming regulations in your state, we can let you know the states with daily fantasy sports laws on the books and the states where the pastime is unregulated but safely and legally available. Though the restricted states are subject to change, we will provide updates as they come in. In addition, it can also be beneficial to learn more about the overall legality of daily fantasy sports. We will provide you with details on the states that have taken efforts to legalize and regulate DFS, along with those that have done the opposite. If you are specifically interested in joining DraftKings, FanDuel, or Yahoo Daily Fantasy, we will also cover which states are on their restricted lists.
Where Can I Legally Play DFS?
You may be surprised to learn that under federal law, daily fantasy sports are completely legal. Though each state has the authority to determine whether or not the paid-entry contests are permitted, there is a federal law that excludes DFS from the regulations that impact sports betting and other types of online gaming. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) is a banking restriction that applies to US financial institutions and online gaming transactions, however fantasy sports are specifically excluded! The UIGEA states that the contests are excluded from the law given that the prize pool is disclosed beforehand and the contests are not based entirely on the performance of one player or team.
There are also plenty of states with daily fantasy sports that have implemented their own regulations. These laws may include application processes, licensing fees, and taxes on revenues generated from players in the state. There are only a handful of states that have created actual DFS legislation, and the absence of such laws does not mean that the contests are illegal. You can legally play DFS in the majority of states, but the states where contests are regulated are:
|Mississippi||Missouri||New Hampshire||New York|
|New Jersey||Pennsylvania||Rhode Island||Tennessee|
Which States Have Banned DFS?
Though there are more states with daily fantasy sports than without, not all USA sports fans are able to join DFS sites like FanDuel and DraftKings. This is due to the fact that some states have completely banned participation in paid-entry contests by deeming fantasy sports illegal. Most of the states that have prohibited daily fantasy sports have put the contests into the category of illegal gambling, which is a designation that DFS operators have fought to avoid. DFS operators have legally maintained that their contests are skill games and should not be considered games of chance. There are not many states that have banned DFS, but here is a list of the current states where DFS contests are largely considered illegal or have received unfavorable Attorney General opinions:
Do DFS Sites Accept Players From Every State?
It is not currently possible for daily fantasy sports operators to accept players from every state. While some states have chosen to embrace the fantasy contests, others have either banned DFS or remained silent regarding regulation. There are also states that have made it difficult for operators to serve their residents by issuing negative Attorney General opinions regarding the legality of DFS contests. All of these factors go into an operator’s decision as to whether or not they will accept players from a certain state. The good news is that about 80% of US sports fans can join daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo.
States That DraftKings Restricts
Though the list of states with daily fantasy sports is growing, there are still states that DraftKings restricts due to legal concerns. DraftKings is the biggest DFS operator in the US, with contests offered on a wide variety of sports. Some of the offerings include NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, NASCAR, MMA, and eSports. Unfortunately, not all US citizens will be able to sign up for the paid-entry contests at DraftKings. This does not necessarily mean that daily fantasy sports are illegal in the state. It could just be that there is legislation currently pending or another factor that would prevent the operator from offering its services. If you reside in one of the following states, you will be unable to participate in paid contests at DraftKings:
States That FanDuel Restricts
As one of the leaders in the DFS industry, DraftKings services most states with daily fantasy sports. The only states that FanDuel restricts are those with an unfavorable legal environment for DFS. FanDuel has always been willing to pay fees and meet other licensing requirements in order to offer their contests in states that regulate DFS (except for Nevada, which no DFS operator currently serves, despite the pastime being technically legal there). Even so, there are some attorneys general and government officials that have taken a strong stance against daily fantasy contests within their respective jurisdictions. For this reason, there are some states where residents are ineligible to participate in paid-entry contests at FanDuel. These are the current states that FanDuel restricts:
States That Yahoo Restricts
Yahoo Daily Fantasy launched after the two major DFS leaders opened for business, but the site has been quite successful since entering the market. Once only known for its season-long fantasy sports product, Yahoo DFS includes contests on MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, UCL, La Liga, MLS, and EPL, among others. As with any other DFS provider, the uncertain legal climate makes it necessary for the site to change the states that it serves frequently. That is why we recommend reviewing Yahoo’s terms and conditions for the latest updates. As of the time of this writing, if you are a resident of any of the following states you, will be ineligible to play DFS for real money at Yahoo:
What’s The Deal With DFS In Nevada?
You may have noticed that no DFS operator accepts residents from Nevada for real-money contests. Interestingly, the state of NV considers DFS to be perfectly legal, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board has rules and regulations for the practice already in place. Like all gambling products, DFS would be taxed at a relatively minor 6.75% of revenue. There are many states where daily fantasy operators do business and pay a higher tax rate, so some users might be confused as to why DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo don’t simply set up shop in and around Sin City.
However, it’s not the taxation that bothers these DFS brands. The reason that no daily fantasy sports operator does business in Nevada is that the state formally defines DFS as a “gambling” product. Lobbyists for the DFS industry have worked tirelessly nationwide to decouple their products and services from the legal definition of gambling, and installing DFS in Nevada – in compliance with a political environment that designates the pastime as gambling – would be counterproductive to the industry’s efforts nationwide. DFS operators claim that their product is a game of skill, not a game of chance, and allowing Nevada to effectively redefine those terms does not suit the operators.
Until Nevada passes specific laws governing DFS separately from the state’s gambling products, you can expect them to continue rejecting paid customers from the state. If you live in NV and wish to participate in DFS contests, your only recourse is to move to a different state or contact your local representatives to help get DFS its own legal status in Nevada separate from the larger gambling industry.
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