It has been some time since a state in the US has decided to rule against daily fantasy sports contests. For a while, it seemed that almost every week a different state was coming forward to declare the activity an illegal one. Now, the Delaware Department of Justice has made the move to ask operators to stop offering their real-money contests within the state. Legislators have yet to amend laws that will authorize the activity to take place.
This past Friday, the DOJ of Delaware announced that letters had been sent to operators of real money DFS gaming to inform the companies that the contests are not permitted based on current laws of the state. This included FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo.
State regulators were reportedly notified in March that the DFS contests were considered illegal gambling as they are an activity of chance rather than one of skill based on the dominant factor involved in the outcome of the real-money contests. The law in Delaware prohibits all gambling activity expect the lotteries that are under state control. The DOJ has stated that DFS gaming is considered an activity that the state does not have control over.
The argument that DFS contests involve chance or skill is the main reasoning behind states either allowing the activity or deeming the activity illegal. The DOJ of Delaware has stated that they feel chance is the dominant factor. Even though the contestants are choosing individual athletes, the contestant does not have a role in how the players actually perform. The DOJ feels that most skilled contestants may lose while less skilled contestants could win due to the fact that the athlete is human and the behavior of humans is unpredictable.
Regulators told operators of the position noted by the DOJ on the subject but the DOJ did not take any further action once they made their position known. According to CalvinAyre, certain online fantasy sports companies stated that the state was going to be amending their laws soon to allow DFS contests to take place legally. Yet the DOJ has stated that the General Assembly finished their latest session on the 30th of June and there was no action taken on the activity.
As for now, the Department of Justice in Delaware will be enforcing the law and players will not be able to take part in real-money DFS contests. However, residents of the state will be allowed to enjoy DFS gaming contests that do not require an entry fee.
None of the companies contacted by the DOJ have responded as of yet to the request for operations to cease within the state. In the past, FanDuel as well as DraftKings have complied to requests for a cease in service in the hopes that regulation will be put in place in the individual state so gaming can commence once again.