This article has been updated.
Earlier this week it was reported that the state of Alabama had become the 12th state in the US to decide that daily fantasy sports were considered illegal gambling. Now, it has been revealed that the state of Tennessee has decided to declare the same, calling DFS an illegal gambling activity.
Yesterday, Herbert Slatery, the Attorney General of Tennessee, issued an opinion from his office that stated that DFS is illegal gambling under state law. The opinion of Slatery came just one day after Alabama AG Luther Strange made the same announcement.
In the opinion by Slatery, he states that gambling is broadly defined based on the law of Tennessee and that gambling encompasses any activity in which players are risking anything of value for a profit that has a return to any degree that is based on chance. Slatery continued by stating that the definition is straightforward and the only exceptions would be a lawful business transaction, non-profit organization annual events and a state lottery.
The opinion by Slatery is similar to Strange’s in Alabama as it reads that participants of DFS may be using skill to choose players for their teams, but winning a contest of fantasy sports is contingent on a degree of chance. According to the AG, the players do not have control on how the athletes they have selected will perform on any given day.
One difference between the Tennessee and Alabama opinion is that Tennessee’s goes further than DFS to include all fantasy sports contests that have a fee in place. Tennessee also did not send out cease and desist letters to operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings like Alabama did this week. The Tennessee State Assembly does have the option to list DFS to the state list of gambling exemptions if they so choose.
DraftKings issued a statement in response to the Tennessee AG’s letter:
“We have been and are in an active dialogue with elected officials to advance thoughtful and appropriate legislation that includes consumer protections to govern our skill-based contests and are encouraged by our progress to date in Tennessee. We
call on all of our fans and Tennessee supporters to let their voices be heard in the coming days to show support for this legislation and protect their right to play the games they love.”
This article was updated 4-7-2016 p.m. to include a response from DraftKings.