Hawaii Attorney General: Daily Fantasy Sports Is Gambling Under State Law

Written By Chris Grove on January 27, 2016
Hawaii AG says DFS illegal

The Hawaii Attorney General has issued an opinion that daily fantasy sports constitutes gambling under state law.

Read the statement and full opinion from Hawaii AG Doug Chin here.

“Gambling generally occurs under Hawaii law when a person stakes or risks something of value upon a game of chance or upon any future contingent event not under the person’s control,” said Chin.

As Chin notes in his statement, Hawaii has (by most measures) one of the least forgiving definitions of gambling among the 50 states.

Hawaii joins a long – and growing – list of state officials weighing in on the matter:

  • Illinois: AG Lisa Madigan tackled the issue with an advisory opinion in December that triggered a still-running court battle between her office and DFS operators.
  • Nevada: An opinion from the office of AG Adam Laxalt in October came to the conclusion that DFS was gambling under state law and required a license to operate.
  • New York: FanDuel and DraftKings recently won a stay of a preliminary injunction in their ongoing court battle with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
  • Texas: Earlier in January, AG Ken Paxton issued an opinion saying that the courts would likely find that DFS is illegal gambling under state law. It’s not clear what action he will take, if any.
  • Vermont: The AG’s office in the New England state declared DFS is illegal gambling under state law. There has been no sense of what, if any, action the Vermont AG might take.

In addition, nearly 20 states are considering a legislative answer to the DFS question. See our full bill tracker here.

Today, lawmakers in California and Florida both advanced bills that would regulate daily fantasy sports operators.

Image credit: Theodore Trimmer / Shutterstock.com

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Chris Grove

Chris is the former publisher of LegalSportsReport.com and OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.

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