Fantasy Sports Sites Involve Illegal Gambling, Texas Attorney General Says | KERA News

Fantasy Sports Sites Involve Illegal Gambling, Texas Attorney General Says

Jan 19, 2016

While placing bets on fantasy sports sites might involve skill, there is still an element of chance that equates such leagues with illegal gambling in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion released Tuesday.

The "odds are favorable that a court would conclude that participation in paid daily fantasy sports leagues constitutes illegal gambling," Paxton said in the nine-page opinion. But "participation in traditional fantasy sport leagues that occurs in a private place where no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings and the risks of winning or losing are the same for all participants does not involve illegal gambling."

In November, state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, asked the attorney general to weigh in on whether fantasy sports sites like DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com were legal in Texas. The request came days after New York's attorney general declared such sites to be illegal gambling.

Those who use the sites pay entry fees to put together fantasy teams using real athletes. BothDraftKings.com and FanDuel.com have said they are no different from other online gambling sites that are already deemed illegal in most of the country.

A spokesman for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which represents the fantasy sports industry, said they were reviewing the opinion and did not have an immediate comment.

In a statement Tuesday, Crownover said she requested the opinion to clarify the law on fantasy sports sites. "It is our responsibility to try to make sure no business is profiting from illegal activity in Texas." 

The Texas Tribune provided this story.