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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Texas attorney general declares daily fantasy sports sites likely illegal



As Florida lawmakers weigh whether to pave the way for fantasy sports sites to operate freely, Texas is already coming down hard on the debate.

From our friends at the News Service of Florida:

Amid a debate in Florida about the industry, the Texas attorney general Tuesday issued an opinion that said daily fantasy-sports contests are likely illegal gambling in his state.

The nine-page opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took issue with the industry's arguments that the online contests are based on skill and, as a result, don't conflict with gambling laws. In fantasy sports, people choose rosters of actual athletes. The winners of the contests are determined by the statistics of the athletes.

"It is beyond reasonable dispute that daily fantasy leagues involve an element of chance regarding how a selected player will perform on game day,'' Paxton's opinion said. "The participant's skill in selecting a particular player for his team has no impact on the performance of the player or the outcome of the game."

Paxton's opinion came after officials in other states, including New York and Illinois, have said they view the daily fantasy sports industry as illegal gambling. It also came as Florida lawmakers consider proposals that would regulate the industry --- but make clear the contests do not fall under gambling laws.

Paxton's opinion drew a distinction between daily fantasy games and season-long fantasy leagues. He wrote that under Texas laws, "odds are favorable that a court would conclude that participation in paid daily fantasy sports leagues constitutes illegal gambling, but that participation in traditional fantasy sport leagues that occurs in a private place where no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings and the risks of winning or losing are the same for all participants does not involve illegal gambling."


[Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:54pm]


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