DraftKings Strategy Course 101
Is Playing on DraftKings Legal?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. First, you need to determie if you want to play DraftKings Daily Fantasy or bet on DraftKings Sportsbook. We’ve answered all the legality questions below for both products, so let’s dive in.
Over the last several years, daily fantasy sports (DFS) have rocketed in popularity due to an increase in fantasy football players, the chance to win real money, and flexibility provided in comparison to season-long fantasy sports leagues. The complex gambling laws in the United States, however, have made it confusing for many players to figure out where they can play legally. Additionally, some states like California don’t have explicit laws on Daily Fantasy, yet DraftKings and other DFS providers have operated in California without issue for years.
Is DraftKings Sportsbook legal?
Yes, if you are in a state that has legalized sports betting. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a law blocking sports betting, and leaving legality up to individual states. Sports gambling may soon become legal across the United States, but currently, each state is going through the individual legal process. Sports betting is legal in a number of states including New Jersey, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and more. However, there are separate laws for mobile sports betting. Some states only betting in a physical casino. The following map shows the states in which DraftKings is legal for mobile sports betting.
**The green states below shows what states have a LIVE DraftKings Sportsbook Mobile App & Website Online in which you can play. Source: DraftKings.com
Is DraftKings Daily Fantasy Legal?
Yes, if you are in a state that either has an explicit law allowing it or a state where there has been no definitive decision and DFS Operators are providing cash games. Current laws are complicated, and there is not a simple answer. If you are in Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada or Washington, DraftKings does not operate and is illegal in your state.
The situation is complicated in a few states such as Texas and California. However, nowhere has there been more controversy than New York; NY has previously sued and won cases against DraftKings. The DFS bill is once again under the eye of legislators and may change the law in the near future. For now, play on. DFS is legal in Nevada. However, Nevada regulates gambling, and DraftKings Daily Fantasy does not currently operate there.
**The orange states below shows states where you can play DraftKings Daily Fantasy. Source: DraftKings.com
Can I Play on DraftKings in an Illegal State?
The technical answer is yes, while the legal answer is no.
Playing on DraftKings Sportsbook might be possible even if you are in a state where it isn’t legal, but you’ll have several obstacles to overcome. First, you’ll need to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, which will disguise the state you’re accessing the site from by giving you a proxy address in a state where it is legal. However, most easy-to-use commercial VPNs will not work to do this, as DraftKings has blocked either the VPN programs or the IP addresses used. Secondly, DraftKings employs geo-location software, which requires a WIFI connection to validate location.
If you do manage to set up a VPN and get past the geo-location software, you need to consider the complications of providing an address and legal form of payment based in that state. Be very careful, as you may run into legal issues outside of gambling laws if you misrepresent your address, name, or other details in order to access a payment method.
Playing DraftKings Daily Fantasy in a non-legal state would face the same problems but on a daily basis. Each time you want to set or tweak a fantasy lineup, you would need to go through the process of making sure your VPN and payment details are based in a legal state.
What are the real risks of trying to play on DraftKings in a state where it isn’t legal?
While DFS players are not (at least so far) a prime target for law enforcement, you will be breaking the law. You may not be merely breaking state laws, either, but also potentially federal laws like the Wiretap Act, which could be interpreted to treat VPNs as a form of wiretapping. The likelihood of you being investigated, charged, or convicted of violating federal law merely for playing daily fantasy sports may be low, but not zero, and the penalties could be severe.
When will DraftKings Sportsbook Come to My State?
If you want to play on DraftKings in your state easily and legally risk-free, the best thing you can do is to advocate for legal changes through your political representatives. Local casinos, state legislatures, and other gambling advocates benefit from public support to change anti-gambling laws.
Florida, Texas, and California are currently reviewing legality, while Kansas released an opinion encouraging legality for DFS and sports betting. Other states are considering legislation or currently sit in a grey area of the law. Some states require online companies to partner with a casino based in the state. Each state also has its own laws concerning required licenses and fees that must be paid to operate in the state. If the costs of these licenses and fees are too high, it may not make business sense for DraftKings to operate there, even if legal.