States With Legal Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily Fantasy Sports have been around for a while and also falls under a different category than legal sports betting. Even if you don’t play them, you’ve seen their ads on billboards, television, and radio. You’ve also seen them advertised on numerous NFL broadcasts, especially during a massive 2015 marketing blitz. The marketing war between DraftKings and FanDuel during that season has become almost legendary. Considering their ubiquity, it would be easy to assume that daily fantasy sports (DFS) are available throughout the country, but that would be a mistake.

The sad reality is that not all states have warmed to DFS, and even some states with fully legal sports betting have not yet embraced daily fantasy. DFS sites now operate in 43 of 50 states. This page will provide an overview of which states have legalized DFS and which ones are still working on passing similar legislation. We will also detail the states that have taken it a step further and banned DFS operations entirely.

The good news is that the number of states with legal Daily Fantasy Sports has been growing over the past couple of years. The bad news is that it’s been slow going in most parts of the country. The topic of legal Daily Fantasy Sports is a mercurial one, as state legislators have argued back and forth about whether or not it constitutes illegal gambling or if it should be classified as a game of skill. Because of this, DFS sites have been stuck in legal limbo for the past several years in the United States. 

Current Situation With Legal Daily Fantasy Sports

The concept of fantasy sports is nothing new – you choose the best players to put on your team, and their real-life stats translate into points for you. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. Now, I get it, it’s not that simple and there is a lot more skill that goes into it. But those are the basics. Daily fantasy sports just kicks that up a notch and gives players the ability to put money on their teams. It’s the fact that they can put money on it that has certain lawmakers calling into question whether or not DFS is technically a game of skill, or a form of pseudo sports betting that violates current state law.

DFS operators claim that their paid-entry events do not constitute gambling because the results are not wholly based on chance. Rather, they are based almost entirely on skill. In the past few years, however, they’ve run into a bit of a problem. Attorney Generals in quite a few states have decided that they believe that DFS is an unlawful form of sports betting that violates state law. Some states even went so far as to start kicking out DFS sites. Because of this, it can be hard to determine which are states with legal Daily fantasy sports and which are at risk of losing their ability to operate in a state at any moment.

You see, without legislation in place, technically DFS is not legal or illegal. It’s stuck in a gray area. An Attorney General can issue their opinions and send cease and desist letters all they want – if there is no legislation on the books, there’s really no legal leg for them to stand on, they’re just interpreting the law in a singular way. DFS sites see themselves as games of chance and therefore don’t believe they are violating current gambling laws. So in most states, it’s really coming down to a matter of opinion. Now, the states can choose to bring DFS site to court if they don’t comply with the desist letters, but that hasn’t happened yet.

This is why the CEOs of DraftKings and FanDuel have been traveling across the country for the past couple of years, speaking with state representatives and making their case for legalizing DFS. This way, the states get a slice of the cake and can collect taxes and licensing fees from the companies, while the DFS sites can have a permanent space in states with legal daily fantasy sports.

The states that have already passed the legislation have created regulatory framework, licenses, and fee structures for DFS sites to adhere to. All of the current states with legal and regulated daily fantasy sports are listed below.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

* Though Louisiana has legalized DFS in 47 out of 50 local parishes, there are still additional regulatory standards that need to be established. For now, most DFS operators do not provide their services to the state.

Which States Do Not Have Daily Fantasy Sports

Currently, there are several states that don’t have daily fantasy sports and have asked DFS sites to stop their operations. Rather than get into with the AG, these sites have pulled their services, and are attempting to get legislation passed that would allow them to become states with legal daily fantasy sports.

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Washington

Which States Are Not Accepted At DraftKings – Which States Can’t Use DraftKings?

DraftKings is one of America’s largest DFS provers and serves states that house over 80% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, there are still a few states that aren’t served by DraftKings though. It is incumbent upon individual states to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports, and the following states have elected to disallow DFS games.

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Washington

Which States Are Accepted At FanDuel – Which States Can’t Use FanDuel?

Like DraftKings, FanDuel is a titan of the daily fantasy sports industry and operates in every state that offers legal DFS gaming. Even in states like Delaware that charge massive licensing fees for access to the state’s tiny population, FanDuel recognizes the value of ubiquity and brand recognition. The list of states that can’t access FanDuel is the same as the list for DraftKings:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Washington

States That May Have Daily Fantasy Sports In 2020 Or Soon After

The years 2020 and 2021 could see even the staunchest anti-DFS states reconsider their stance. With COVID-19 racking the global economy, all states are looking for ways to address budgetary issues caused by a decrease in overall wages and consumer spending. Regulated and taxed daily fantasy sports could be a good way to generate badly needed tax revenues to avoid making crucial cuts to education, infrastructure, and social programs, or taking on huge amounts of debt. For the moment, legal sports betting seems to be the legislative priority in most states, so DFS could be tacked onto a sports betting bill as an addendum, but dedicated DFS bills are likely relatively low on most states’ agendas. 

Recent Changes With Daily Fantasy Sports

Recently, there have been major changes in the daily fantasy sports industry. Not so much to the contests, but with the leading operators. Both DraftKings and FanDuel now offer legal sportsbooks in addition to their fantasy products. The online DraftKings Sportsbook is open to New Jersey residents, as is the FanDuel sports betting site. While these companies remain the leading daily fantasy providers in the US, expanding their portfolios to include sports betting could either help or hurt their cause when it comes to expanding DFS legislation.

States that support sports betting will be more likely to license the operators, while those that want to distance themselves from sports gambling may opt to pass regulating DFS in their state due to the somewhat blurred lines.

Which States Are Accepted At DraftKings

DraftKings accepts players from 43 out of the 50 states. This number will likely change as Louisiana will be accepting operators for their newly legal Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) market during the 2021 session, which will soon scratch them off of the list. Any person residing in the seven states listed below cannot currently access DraftKings to engage in DFS activities.

Arizona – Hawaii – Idaho – Louisiana – Montana – Nevada – Washington

Which States Are Accepted At FanDuel

FanDuel and DraftKings are the same when it comes to which states are allowed to access their platforms and which states cannot. If a fan of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) lives in one of the states listed below, they are not eligible to sign up for a FanDuel account to participate in their paid contests.

Arizona – Hawaii – Idaho – Louisiana – Montana – Nevada – Washington

2020 NFL Daily Fantasy Sports & Contests

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and contests involving the NFL are in full swing for the 2020 season. Depending on the platform being used, there are a number of outlets with NFL fantasy league play or contests or both, from ESPN and Yahoo Leagues to DraftKings and FanDuel. While players have the opportunity to play for free or buy in on league play, contests being held typically have an entry fee. DraftKings is currently running its Best Ball Contest where some people were given free entry while others paid anywhere from $3- $1,000 to compete for the grand prize of $1 million or the prize pool amount of $3.25 million. As always, the biggest and most popular competition is DraftKings’ million dollar Sunday kickoff DFS competition for NFL. This competition continues to grow in size and payouts, while DraftKings continues to offer new and profitable tournaments every week.

FanDuel is running a Last Fan Standing contest where players pick one team to win each week trying to survive the season and claim a $100,000 prize. FanDuel has a quick contest that allows players to pick a new NFL team each week rather than running the entire season like Best Ball from DraftKings. Also, FanDuel’s NFL option gives you the opportunity to can hop on the bandwagon and play any time they’d like to because playing in a league through any platform or with Best Ball involves deadlines for sign-up due to covering the entire season. There are also DFS NFL contests on the international sportsbooks as long as it is in a state where daily fantasy sports are legal. NFL DFS is back and better than ever as fans are even more excited after months of having no sports due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.