The short answer is YES!
Same Day or Daily Fantasy Sports are completely legal in the United States!
Daily Fantasy Legality
The information below does not constitute legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction. Laws change. The information below is only my attempt to shed some light on the question: Are daily fantasy sports legal?
Is it Gambling?
Daily fantasy sports have similarities to betting on sports, gambling and especially poker. You study the possibilities, the probabilities, all the statistics, odds, etc.. You put money at risk. Much like poker. Unlike poker a game is played that you have no control of. You win or lose money. There are many similarities…
The difference, in the eyes of the law, is that sports betting is pure chance. Daily fantasy sports are a game of skill! That is, in essence, what makes daily fantasy sports legal. In reality, DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) is slightly more chance than some would like to admit and sports betting is far more skill than people would like to admit. They are not far apart. However their legality stands in between them!
As early as the Internet itself, online gaming became an issue. It was hard to regulate without eliminating various Internet freedoms. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (the UIGEA) made it much more clear what was and was not lawful.
Daily Fantasy Sports are legal if:
- “No fantasy or simulation sports team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional sports organization.” (In English, this says you can’t simply get around sports wagering laws by putting together a “fantasy” team that mirrors a real team.)
- “All prizes and awards offered to winning participants are established and made known to the participants in advance of the game or contest” (The prize must be set ahead of time. This is why Daily Fantasy Sites need to know about how many entries they will get, otherwise they risk losing a lot by offering too much prize money for too few entrants. As a player, watch for new sites offering large prizes. Their loss is your gain.)
- [The Prize] value is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid by those participants.” (Adds to the point above. Prizes don’t depend on entrants.)
- “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.” (Daily fantasy sports outcomes are determined, at least in part, by the skill of the participant. Results should be based on real outcomes.)
Does it matter what state I’m in
Throughout the country, you need to be 18 to play daily fantasy sports. In Alabama and Nebraska you must be 19 to play daily fantasy sports.
If you’re 18 and have residence anywhere else, DFS is your oyster.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in the US?
With the exception of the caveats above, all daily fantasy sports are legal. There are no specific legality issues based on the different sports. Daily fantasy football, basketball, golf, hockey, and certainly daily fantasy baseball are all legal.
Hey, the government got this one right! Even if it was basically by accident. Compare online poker vs. daily fantasy sports… they are almost equal in games of skill. However poker’s loss is daily fantasy sports gain.