Different daily fantasy sports companies have taken different approaches to the U.S. states that sites allow to play DFS for real money.
Below is a table of the states where sites like DraftKings and FanDuel ban and allow play. Due to the fluid nature of DFS’ legal situation, sites may change their policy on a given state with little or no notice. Please contact us with any errors or omissions.
Operators are generally using DraftKings and FanDuel as a firewall/temperature taker. If those two sites are no longer in a given state, other operators generally follow.
Here is a map that gives an overview of which operators are in which states:
It’s worth noting that these are not necessarily states where daily fantasy sports are illegal to play. The legal picture surrounding DFS is complex and ambiguous, as a snapshot of the approach major sites take to blocking states quickly reveals.
The states where FanDuel blocks players are: Arizona, Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Texas, Delaware and Washington state.
Again, this is a reflection of company policy regarding banned states and not a legal determination by any arm of government. Inclusion on the list does not necessarily mean it is a state where DFS is illegal, and exclusion from the list also doesn’t guarantee that fantasy sports is legal in the state.
So a state being on the list above isn’t the same as being able to definitively claim that “FanDuel is illegal in that state,” and a state being off of the list isn’t the same as being able to say “FanDuel is legal in that state.”
The states where DraftKings blocks players are: Arizona, Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Delaware and Washington State.
Note that we’re not asserting that these are states where DraftKings is illegal to play. The law regarding operation of a game and the law regarding participation in a game are often separate animals.
These are simply DraftKings banned states where players are not allowed by the site, DraftKings restrictions and not necessarily the specific restriction of the state itself.
The states where Yahoo daily fantasy blocks players are: Arizona, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington state.
Yahoo’s list adds one state to FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ “not allowed” states: Florida. That may be a reaction to a legal climate in Florida that some observers consider unfriendly to DFS. As you can see, from this example, a DFS site may have many reasons for adding a state to their list of prohibited states – it’s not always a matter of a state having explicitly banned or outlawed DFS.
New York was probably the most-watched and most-discussed DFS battleground of 2016.
After state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced action against DFS sites in October 2015, we witnessed a nearly year-long legal and legislative battle that ultimately resolved in favor of DFS when the NY State Legislature passed a last-minute bill to regulate the activity that was signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
DraftKings is back in NY after successfully acquiring a license to operate in the state. Barring any issues with the license, DraftKings is legal in New York and is fully operational to players from the Empire State.
Is FanDuel legal in NY? Yes.
Likewise, FanDuel NY is back in business after the company successfully acquired the necessary license to offer DFS games to players in New York.
Texas is one of the more interesting states when it comes to daily fantasy sports. The state Attorney General concluded early in 2016 that DFS constituted gambling. But the story in Texas didn’t play out the way that it did in similar states where such opinions were issued. Instead, DraftKings’ Texas strategy diverges radically from FanDuel’s Texas strategy.
Is DraftKings legal in Texas? That’s a question the courts will likely ultimately decide, unless the state legislature passes a bill first. But in the meantime, DraftKings has continued to offer a full range of DFS contests to players in Texas.
Can you play DraftKings in Texas? Yes – at least for now.
But the situation is highly fluid and could be disrupted at any point. With that said, even if DraftKings were to stop accepting players from Texas, players from Texas wouldn’t have too much cause for worry. In other states where sites like DraftKings have exited the market, players have had no problems accessing their accounts and retrieving their funds.
FanDuel took the opposite approach to Texas. After the announcement by the state AG, FanDuel decided to leave the state while the legal battle was waged over the future of DFS in Texas.
Can you play FanDuel in Texas? No – but that could change.
FanDuel appears to be waiting on legal clarity either via a court decision or by a bill passed by Texas lawmakers (who don’t return to legislative activity until March 2017). So players from Texas appear to have a significant wait in store before they can play FanDuel again.
Generally speaking, no. The NCAA has been critical of daily fantasy sports contests, and many of the bills that have passed regulating DFS have specifically blocked operators from offering daily fantasy sports contests for college football, college basketball, or any amateur sporting event.
DraftKings college football contests are not available to players in any state, as DraftKings agreed to stop offering all college sports DFS contests in mid-2016.
FanDuel has taken the same approach to college football and college sports in general. You won’t find FanDuel college football contests or any amateur sports contests in the FanDuel lobby, and that situation appears unlikely to change in the near future.