Daily fantasy sports state-by-state tracker

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With lobbyists working in dozens of states, the efforts by leading daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators -- most notably DraftKings and FanDuel -- to clarify the legal status of their game have resulted in some successes across the country.

According to the Wall Street Journal and Legal Sports Report, about 20 states already have pending legislation that would largely permit fantasy sports of the daily variety. Most of the proposed laws emphasize consumer protection and are viewed favorably by DFS operators.

The setbacks have been headline-grabbing, however.

Since October 2015, several states have labeled DFS as a form of illegal gambling. But the way in which each state moved forward afterward reveals how fractured the landscape can be when archaic laws enacted as far back as a century ago are put face-to-face with innovative, tech-driven fantasy contests of today.

A state-by-state march toward legal acceptance probably will be long and bumpy. Fantasy Sports Trade Association president Paul Charchian estimated that it would be a multiyear process.

"We're going to battle and we're going to win," Charchian said in his remarks at the January 2016 FSTA conference in Dallas. "We need to formally legalize fantasy play in 50 states."

Below we provide a bite-sized summary of the current status of DFS in all 50 states, with updates to follow as news warrants.

This file was updated on May 16.


Allowed states (13)

Arkansas

Arkansas became the first state in 2017 to enact a new law permitting cash-based DFS. Signed by governor Asa Hutchinson in April, the new law taxes DFS revenue for companies operating in the state.

Colorado

On June 10, 2016, the governor of Colorado signed legislation to specifically permit daily fantasy contests in the state. Fantasy contests involving college sports are not allowed. In a news release, FanDuel described Colorado's new law as "in line with the state's best governing traditions: smart regulation to protect consumers, but with a light touch that does not stifle innovation or interfere with access to fantasy sports."

Indiana

On March 24, 2016, then-Gov. Mike Pence signed into law legislation permitting certain kinds of daily fantasy contests. Under the jurisdiction of the state's gaming commission, DFS contests are specifically recognized as a game of skill. However, all fantasy participants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, DFS contests based on college or high school sports are prohibited.

Kansas

On April 24, 2015, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released a six-page memo generally favorable to fantasy sports play, although the memo does not touch on DFS specifically. "If fantasy sports leagues fall within the definition provided in [the law], then fantasy sports leagues are games of skill and therefore are not lotteries," the memo concluded.

Maryland

Maryland addressed fantasy sports years ago. "Maryland law specifically exempts fantasy sports contests from its gambling laws," noted a 2014 legal opinion letter sent to FanDuel. Indeed, the Maryland legislature passed a fantasy-friendly law in 2012. The Maryland attorney general later questioned whether the 2012 law extended to DFS and has asked the legislature to provide clarity on this point, leaving some doubt in the state.

Massachusetts

DFS has generated a lot of attention in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Attorney General Maura Healey put into place multifaceted final regulations in March 2016. Among other things, the regulations ban players under the age of 21, mandate player funds be segregated from operating funds and require sites to offer beginner-only games. In addition, no fantasy contests can be based on athlete performances in college or high school sports. Later in the year, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation to formally permit fantasy sports in accordance with the Healey's regulations.

Mississippi

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation expressly permitting daily fantasy in 2016. The new law requires registration with the Mississippi Gaming Commission and effectively overrules a January opinion by the Mississippi attorney general declaring DFS illegal under then-current state law.

Missouri

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation permitting daily fantasy in June 2016. With oversight by the Missouri Gaming Commission, the new law includes an annual licensing fee and audit. Fantasy contests based on college sports are prohibited. In a news release, Nixon said: "I appreciate the General Assembly for answering my call to bring forward common-sense consumer protection to make sure fantasy sports gaming in Missouri is operated responsibly and with accountability.

New York

In August 2016, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation explicitly permitting daily fantasy sports in the Empire State. "This legislation strikes the right balance that allows this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators, new consumer protections and more funding for education," Cuomo said in a statement. The new law renders moot most, if not all, of the months-long litigation between New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel. However, another lawsuit -- still on-going as of May 2017 -- is challenging the August 2016 law as running afoul of the New York Constitution.

Rhode Island

Daily fantasy was given a stamp of approval in early 2016. "It is the opinion of this office that daily fantasy sports may currently operate legally," Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin wrote in a Feb. 4 letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo. "Applying the 'dominant factor' standard, I do not believe that daily fantasy sports constitute a 'game of chance.' " A legislative bill pertaining to DFS was also introduced in the state.

Tennessee

In late April 2016, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill legalizing cash-based daily fantasy contests. The statute includes a licensing requirement. The new law overrides a previous attorney general's opinion letter concluding that daily fantasy contests were illegal under then-existing Tennessee law.

Virginia

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the "Fantasy Contests Act" into law on March 7, 2016. The new law legalizes pay-to-play DFS in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Operators must pay a licensing fee and are subject to other regulations.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott signed a bill on June 8, 2017 to permit cash-based daily fantasy in the state. The new legislation includes a variety of consumer protection provisions, including a prohibition on certain computer scripts and a requirement that all player funds are segregated from operating accounts. The enactment of the DFS-friendly statute came more than a year after the former Vermont attorney general concluded that daily fantasy constituted illegal gambling under state law.


Recently contested states (9)

Alabama

In an April 5, 2016 media release, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said "paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law." Strange also said that letters sent to DraftKings and FanDuel instructed both companies to cease offering paid contests in the state. A legislative bill that would legalize DFS was subsequently introduced in in Alabama.

Delaware

On July 7, 2016, the Delaware Department of Justice notified several leading DFS operators that "their respective online fantasy sports activities are not permitted under Delaware law." The notice followed a legislative push for a new daily fantasy-friendly law.

Georgia

"[D]aily fantasy sports games are not authorized under Georgia law," wrote two lawyers from the office of Georgia Attorney General Samuel S. Olens in a four-page letter dated Feb. 26, 2016. DFS-related legislation was subsequently introduced.

Hawaii

In January, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin concluded that DFS contests constitute illegal gambling under state law. A follow-up letter from a Honolulu prosecuting attorney instructed leading DFS providers to cease operating in the state. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced.

Idaho

In a May 2, 2016 news release, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said: "My concern is that the daily fantasy sports offerings my office reviewed require participants to risk money for a cash prize contingent upon individual athletes' collective performances in various future sporting events. As I see it, this falls within Idaho's definition of gambling." The release also stated that both FanDuel and DraftKings have agreed to exit the state and not offer any cash-based contests to Idaho residents absent legislation or a favorable court decision.

Illinois

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan concluded that pay-to-play daily fantasy is illegal under state law. "It is my opinion that the daily fantasy sports contests offered by FanDuel and DraftKings clearly constitute gambling," AG Madigan wrote in a Dec. 23 memo. Litigation involving FanDuel and DraftKings remains ongoing, with both companies continuing to operate in the state. At the same time, Illinois lawmakers have considering DFS legislation.

Nevada

In October 2015, the Nevada attorney general deemed DFS to constitute gambling. In a detailed 17-page memo, the office of the attorney general concluded that "daily fantasy sports cannot be offered in Nevada without licensure." FanDuel, DraftKings and several other DFS providers vacated the state soon thereafter.

South Dakota

Daily fantasy sports have the attention of Attorney General Marty Jackley. "Based upon the current state of uncertainty, including the ongoing debate on whether daily fantasy sports wagering is predominately a permissive game of skill or an unlawful game of chance, it will not be my intent to seek felony indictments here in South Dakota absent a clear directive from our state legislature," Jackley wrote in a December statement.

Texas

"Because the outcomes of games in daily fantasy sports leagues depends partially on chance, an individual's payment of a fee to participate in such activities is a bet," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a nine-page Jan. 19 decision. "Accordingly, a court would likely determine that participation in daily fantasy sports is illegal gambling." In early March 2016, FanDuel reached a settlement agreement with Paxton and will exit the state in May. DraftKings filed a lawsuit against Paxton on March 4, 2016 and continues to operate in the Lone Star State. Legislative activity pertaining to DFS stalled in 2017.


Historically banned states (5)

Arizona

Arizona is one of five states where cash-based DFS play has long been considered banned. A prior attorney general's opinion found fantasy football to be considered gambling. In November 2015, the Boston Globe reported that Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent letters to DraftKings and FanDuel asking about the status of player accounts in the state. A legislative bill to legalize DFS was introduced.

Iowa

The state bans play in games "for any sum of money." However, a DFS-related legislative bill was introduced before the Iowa legislature.

Louisiana

In 1991, then-Attorney General William J. Guste, Jr. concluded that a 1-900 number fantasy football contests constituted illegal gambling, but nothing in the 1991 memo touched on DFS-specific issues. The Louisiana legislature considered a DFS bill during the 2016 session.

Montana

Under state law, internet-based fantasy sports leagues are illegal. Montana is not currently considering any amendment to its law. The Montana Lottery offers pay-to-play fantasy football and racing contests.

Washington

In 2011, the Washington State Gambling Commission pursued criminal charges against a state resident who offered NASCAR-themed fantasy contests. However, state lawmakers held 2016 hearings to debate a proposed law that would define certain daily fantasy contests as games of skill and remove them from the state's overall ban on cash-based fantasy games over the internet. Other DFS bills have been introduced, too.


Legislation proposed (19)

California

The California legislature has considered a DFS bill in prior years but a law has yet to be enacted. According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, gambling in California requires a "bet or wager."

Connecticut

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Connecticut follows a "predominance test" where the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A DFS legislative bill has been introduced.

Florida

DFS-friendly legislation has been introduced but stalled in May 2017. In 1991, former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth concluded that certain forms of season-long fantasy sports probably would be illegal under Florida law.

Kentucky

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Kentucky follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A DFS legislative bill was introduced.

Maine

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, gambling in Maine requires a "bet or wager." A legislative bill has been introduced to explicitly permit DFS.

Michigan

In September 2015, a member of the Michigan Gaming Control Board questioned the legality of DFS contests but no formal decision was ever released. According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, gambling in Michigan requires a "bet or wager." A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced in the state.

Minnesota

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Minnesota follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. DFS legislation was introduced in the state.

Nebraska

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Nebraska follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS was introduced in the state.

New Hampshire

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, New Hampshire follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A DFS legislative bill was introduced.

New Jersey

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, gambling in New Jersey requires a "bet or wager." A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced in the state.

New Mexico

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, New Mexico follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced in the state.

North Carolina

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, North Carolina follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A DFS-related legislative bill has been introduced.

Ohio

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Ohio follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A legislative bill was introduced to regulate and permit DFS.

Oklahoma

Wagering on games of chance is banned in Oklahoma. In 1999, according to a court filing in the New York litigation, the Oklahoma attorney general probed a private "money hunt" contest among dog owners competing for cash based on their dog's ability to track prey. The Oklahoma AG concluded that such cash-based contests qualified as a bet under state law. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced in the state.

Oregon

According to a 2014 legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Oregon follows a "material factor" test. "This is a lesser standard than the predominance test and effectively makes it more difficult to offer skill-based gaming," wrote the author of a different 2013 legal opinion letter. Oregon held hearings in 2017 to consider a DFS-friendly bill.

Pennsylvania

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Pennsylvania follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced in the state.

South Carolina

According to a court document released in the New York litigation, South Carolina's definition of gambling "includes betting money on the outcome of any 'game,' regardless of the skill involved in the game." As such, daily fantasy's legality in South Carolina was described as "qualified." A legislative bill to legalize daily fantasy has been introduced.

West Virginia

In a decision dated July 7, 2016, the West Virginia attorney general concluded that: "West Virginia law does not prohibit the offering of or participation in fantasy sports games, as they are defined in Senate Bill 529, because state law prohibits only betting upon games decided predominantly by chance." In reaching its decision, the West Virginia AG drew an analogy to traditional sports betting, writing: "betting on sports is not something predominately determined by chance, but rather by skill."

Wisconsin

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Wisconsin follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. A legislative bill pertaining to DFS has been introduced that would serve to specifically legalize daily fantasy in the state.


No legislation introduced (4)

Alaska

According to a 2014 legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Alaska follows a "material factor" test. "This is a lesser standard than the predominance test and effectively makes it more difficult to offer skill-based gaming," wrote the author of a different 2013 legal opinion letter. In 2001, the Alaska attorney general decided that a pay-to-play golf video game constituted illegal gambling. No current DFS legislation is pending in Alaska.

North Dakota

In a widely reported 2015 statement, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said, "If [DFS is] a game of chance, it's not likely legal, and if it's a game of skill, then it would likely be legal." Stenehjem has not made any formal ruling on fantasy sports. However, in 1994, then-Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp concluded that a certain fantasy football contest might constitute an impermissible "sports pool" and, in turn, be considered illegal gambling. The 1994 opinion letter did not discuss DFS in its current form. Daily fantasy advertisements were recently removed from certain University of North Dakota athletic facilities. No DFS-related legislation is pending in the state.

Utah

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Utah -- a state with perhaps the strictest gambling laws in the nation -- follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. No DFS legislative bill appears pending.

Wyoming

According to a legal opinion letter released in the New York litigation, Wyoming follows a "predominance test" in which the relative levels of skill and chance are measured to determine if the contest is permissible. No fantasy-related legislative bill appears pending.

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