Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports are growing in popularity and generating big profits, prizes, and legal controversy. Photo: Rob Wilson | Shutterstock.

Daily Fantasy Sports, lead by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, are becoming an incredibly popular form of gambling across the country. However, there are laws in place is several U.S. states that make Daily Fantasy Sports illegal, and the controversy is growing.

What are Daily Fantasy Sports?

Daily Fantasy Sports are very similar to other fantasy sports platforms, where players can draft real athletes from professional sports teams and compete against each other, using the real world performance of these athletes in hypothetical head-to-head matchups.

What makes daily fantasy sports unique is that they offer the opportunity to draft a new team of athletes every single day instead of doing one draft per season like most other platforms do.

These platforms also allow players to make bets, backed up by real cash, which some states claim qualifies daily fantasy sports as illegal gambling.

So what’s going on with Daily Fantasy Sports?

Currently, the following states view Daily Fantasy Sports as illegal gambling: Nevada, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Washington, and Texas. Given that this number might continue to grow, the industry is understandably concerned.

DraftKings looks to be particularly in bad shape. The website is dropping a lot of their sponsorships of esports, and some experts like Daren Heitner, professor at the University of Florida and the UF Levin College of Law (a school that boasts important alumni like former U.S. district attorney Kendall Coffey and Florida Senator Dan Gelber), believe that impending legal battles are to blame.

There are currently multiple bills that are hitting state legislatures across the country related to daily fantasy sports. In some states, the bills are attempting to create exemptions for the games from state gambling regulations while also imposing regulations meant to protect consumers.

Other bills consider the specifics of licensing for daily fantasy sports companies or attempt to adjust the one-time and annual renewal fees for those licenses.

Florida is one of the many “battleground states” that may prove incredibly important to the outcome of this debate. The reason? Florida is the 3rd most populus state in the country, making it an attractive target for daily fantasy sports companies.