State Government

All Bets Off For Fantasy Sports In Idaho

The following is a press release from the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says executives of two companies offering various paid Daily Fantasy Sports contests have agreed to quit providing those contests to consumers in Idaho.

The agreement with DraftKings Inc., and FanDuel Inc., two of the nation’s biggest companies offering paid fantasy sports contests, was reached after three months of negotiations, Wasden said.

Under terms of the agreement, the companies, as of May 1, 2016, will not allow any consumers based in Idaho to participate in any of their daily paid online fantasy football, baseball, basketball and other sports contests.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to process requests by Idaho participants to withdraw their account balances in a timely manner. The companies will monitor Idaho players based on geoblocking technology or through IP addresses.

“The concern I have is that the paid daily sports offerings provided by these companies constitute gambling under Idaho law,” Attorney General Wasden said. “I have a duty to enforce and uphold that law. I commend the companies for negotiating in good faith and agreeing not to make these contests available in Idaho.”

Wasden began a review of the companies and their websites in January amid concerns regarding the legality of the daily fantasy sports contests offered by those companies. The Idaho Constitution prohibits gambling except for the state lottery, pari-mutuel betting as well as bingo and raffle games.

“Idaho defines gambling, in part, as risking money or other thing of value for gain that is contingent in whole or part upon chance or the outcome of an event, including a sporting event,” Wasden said. “My concern is that the daily fantasy sports offerings my office reviewed require participants to risk money for a cash prize contingent upon individual athletes’ collective performances in various future sporting events. As I see it, this falls within Idaho’s definition of gambling.”

Nothing in the agreement precludes FanDuel or DraftKings from offering free daily fantasy sports leagues or other free contests that offer prizes to players in Idaho.

The agreement signed by both companies also provides a path to resume offering paid fantasy sports contests to Idaho consumers, including the Idaho Legislature changing the law to allow for and regulate such contests. Paid daily fantasy sports contests could also resume if a court with authority and jurisdiction in Idaho rules in favor of any form of such contests.

The companies can also restart offering such contests at any time, but executives have agreed to provide the Attorney General written notice 30 days prior to doing so. The notice serves to give the Attorney General time to evaluate the proposed contests to determine whether they comply with Idaho law.

The agreement does not constitute an admission of liability or evidence of wrongdoing by the companies, Wasden said.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Bieter begone
    May 2, 2016, 2:22 pm

    Oooohhhhh Wasden is just like the leftist AG in NYC. Must not allow the rube citizens to determine what to do with their own money. After all, only the state is allowed to profit from gambling, right Idaho?

  2. Eagle Writer
    May 2, 2016, 2:55 pm

    I don’t recall DraftKings or FanDuel specifically mentioned in the Constitution, either state or U.S. Regardless, they are as much gambling as the sports themselves.

    I would offer that successful competitors should have a property right to the income derived…

  3. Tom Anderson
    May 2, 2016, 3:17 pm

    Idaho Lottery = GOOD
    Other gambling = BAD

    “The law” AG Wasden enforces is written by criminals (Idaho Legislators) and corporations for their personal enrichment. The Nazis who slaughtered and stole from a whole continent were following “the law” too.

  4. New in town
    May 2, 2016, 5:20 pm

    Just let him tax it and it will then be okay. Like booze, smokes, and lotto tickets. As long and the government criminal organization get a cut it will be cool.

  5. Wasden is right. It is what is.

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    May 3, 2016, 11:03 am

    Obviously, it IS gambling and it should be legal.

    Really, we need to abolish state governments. Some states are even passing laws about bathrooms.

  7. Would be interesting to ask our leaders what is the difference between the Lottery and these Fantasy Sports programs. I assume without question there is a legal carve out making the lottery legal, so I am not asking them to regurgitate Idaho code, rather how do they ethically proclaim they are protecting Idaho citizens from gambling by shutting down access to these sites for Idahoans, when other forms of gambling, including those requiring no skill, only odds, are not only permitted but promoted by the State.

    Some states differentiate gambling based on skill versus chance. For example: There are amusement machines in businesses like Chuck-E-Cheese where you drop a quarter into one of several possible chutes, depending on your placement, the quarter may land on a section of the board where one additional quarter adds to the queue of quarters where rotating levers push quarters off the table into the dispenser. Place the quarter right, maybe you earn a dollar or more, do it wrong you just lost a quarter. This is legal in many states and not considered gambling because the placement of the quarter is a matter of skill, not chance or it is deemed an amusement device. By the way these machines exists because they make a profit, meaning they intake more quarters than they dispense, so a financial loss is guaranteed with any sustained play.

    Now let’s compare fantasy sports to the lottery. In the lottery there is no skill, it is 100% chance. Even lottery games titled poker or blackjack, have no user decisions, there is nothing the user can do to increase or decrease the odds of winning, it is 100% predetermined and purely a matter of chance. Those who pick their own numbers for Powerball, are not using skill, there is no system, it is random odds.

    However with fantasy sports (which I do not play by the way) there is some skill. You research players and teams, review statistics, review who these players and teams are playing against, and based on your skills in understanding these circumstances, match ups and data, you can make skill or knowledge based decisions. You can even elect to play against other players, not a computer, where your skill in choices competes against another persons skill in choices (not unlike buying and selling options in the stock market, it is zero sum game, to win an option someone on the other end must lose) There is still some chance in fantasy sports no doubt, many factors can not be controlled by those making bets like injuries, sidelines, weather, etc, but there is a lot more skill in fantasy sports, than in any lottery game.

    The question why is the State run lottery ok, and it is a game where there is no skill, rather 100% odds based, where in contrast many fantasy sports games allow for your skill (understanding of the game and knowledge of players/teams and performance metrics) to influence the probability of the outcome.

    To beat a dead horse (pun intended) how is fantasy sports different than betting on live horse racing at Les Bois? Gamblers there in theory (when it was open) research the horses, the breeders, jockeys, past performance of the horses and their competitors and make bets based on their skill and understanding of the game.

    Gambling should either be legal (and regulated), or illegal. The fact of whether it is the state or a private business that profits from the games should not be the determining factor. It is hypocrisy to shut down businesses deemed harmful to citizens, when the state runs even worse enterprises.

  8. Tom Anderson
    May 4, 2016, 3:30 pm

    JJ – You present an excellent argument!! The people I see buying lottery tickets look like they can’t afford their next meal, which is sad. Easy for ignorant folks to become a victim with all the flashy Idaho State Lottery ads. It appeals to the uneducated saps that never took a statistics course. The pious & pompous legislators are either fools or criminals, or often both. The odds are always (not) in your favor, and the few who win treat it as “found money” and blow it quickly. The average multimillion dollar jackpot lottery winner is bankrupt in 3 years. Payday loan stores being legal is a similar violation of our most vulnerable citizens which is morally reprehensible.

  9. The Great Nanny State of Idaho has spoken. The Legislature makes the laws and the AG enforces them. Don’t like it then change the makeup of the Legislature or lobby for a change.

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