Entertainment & Sports Law

Another state bans fantasy sports sites for violating gambling laws

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Idahoans can no longer join daily, online fantasy sports contests, because the cash prizes reportedly violate state gambling laws.

“Idaho defines gambling, in part, as risking money or other thing of value for gain that is contingent in whole or part upon chance or the outcome of an event, including a sporting event,” Lawrence Wasden, the state attorney general, told the Idaho Statesman. “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.”

DraftKings and FanDuel, two popular sports wagering websites, agreed to stop providing the offerings to Idaho residents, and users there were notified by email, according to the article. Under the agreement, the sites can offer Idaho residents free daily fantasy sports leagues, or other free contests with prizes. The state is one of nine where the site contests are not available due to state laws, according to Legalsportsreport.com .

The agreement leaves open the possibility that the Idaho legislature may change its existing laws to allow and regulate online fantasy betting sites. Currently, the Idaho constitution does permit a state lottery, bingo, raffles and pari-mutuel betting, a common example of which would be horse races.

“I do not play the big tournaments generally, usually their 50/50 leagues and not for more than $5 or $10 at a time. It’s recreational but (I) clearly enjoy it,’’ Andrew Smith, a Meridian resident, told the paper. “I work with older ladies that spend $100 a week playing the Idaho Lottery and get nothing in return. I deposit a $100 in FanDuel and can play for months and I have cashed out on occasion.”

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