Texas AG Ken Paxton Declares Daily Fantasy Sports Illegal In State
Texas has become the latest state to declare daily fantasy sports as illegal. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Tuesday that having being tasked with the job to determine if DFS is legal or not, he is of the opinion that none of the DFS operators’ claims square up with existing Texas Law. He believes that that it is prohibited to gamble in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event in which the house takes a cut.
He went on to say,” These sites are also wrong in claiming an actual-contestant exception, which applies only to contestants in an actual skill or sporting event. And unlike some other states, Texas law only requires ‘partial chance’ for something to be gambling; it does not require that chance predominate.” Paxton does however differentiate between daily fantasy and the traditional season fantasy games which are according to him legal. Paxton now joins other prominent Attorney Generals like those from Illinois, Texas and New York who are all of the opinion that DFS is nothing more than gambling as the element of luck is a key element of the game. Added to these states is Nevada which now require operators of DFS to have a sports betting license.
Reaction to AG Paxton’s ruling was not slow in coming. DraftKings said in a statement,” We strongly disagree with the Attorney General’s prediction about what the courts may or may not do if ever presented with the issue of whether daily fantasy sports are legal under Texas law. The Texas Legislature has expressly authorized games of skill, and daily fantasy sports are a game of skill. The Attorney General’s prediction is predicated on a fundamental misunderstanding of DFS. We intend to continue to operate openly and transparently in Texas, so that the millions of Texans who are fantasy sports fans can continue to enjoy the contests they love.”
FanDuel also reacted and said, “Today’s advisory opinion by the Attorney General of Texas is founded on a misinterpretation of the law and misunderstanding of the facts about fantasy sports. Fantasy sports has always been a legal contest of skill in Texas. The Texas legislature has expressly recognized that payment of an entry fee to compete for prizes in a contest of skill is not illegal gambling. Texans have long enjoyed participating legally in a wide variety of contests on that basis. The Attorney General’s advisory prediction that a Texas court might think fantasy sports fall outside that protection because fantasy sports contestants are not actually participating in the sports events disregards that the selection of a fantasy roster to compete against other contestants’ selections is a separate valid contest of skill all its own.”