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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Attorney general challenges legality of fantasy sports

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an advisory opinion Tuesday condemning daily fantasy sports as “illegal gambling” under state laws.

In his opinion, Paxton said it is an offense to bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in the game. In daily fantasy sports, players create teams of professional athletes and compete against other players based on the athletes’ game statistics. DraftKings and FanDuel are the leading fantasy sports leagues in the multibillion-dollar industry.

Paxton said a court would likely find that participation in daily fantasy sports leagues constitutes illegal gambling. 

Many in the fantasy sports league industry, and students who play, disagree with Paxton’s conclusion. 

“Today’s advisory opinion by the attorney general of Texas is founded on a misinterpretation of the law and misunderstanding of the facts about fantasy sports. Fantasy sports has always been a legal contest of skill in Texas,” John S. Kiernan, a lawyer for FanDuel, said in a statement.

Josh Flores, chemical engineering senior who uses DraftKings, said overall he thinks DraftKings is essentially more about skill. 

“Overall it is betting, but if you want to win you do your research when making your lineup,” Flores said. “Take me for example. I put in at least half an hour to an hour for every line up I make because I research player trends, injuries, depth chart changes and other factors that can affect the outcome of my team and my money.”

Preston Phillips, chemical engineering senior who uses FanDuel, said while FanDuel is more skillful than traditional methods of betting such as the lottery and casino games, in accordance with Texas Law he believes FanDuel would be considered illegal. 

“If the Texas law says that betting on the outcome of the game and the statistics of the players is illegal then yes, FanDuel would be illegal because that’s exactly what you do,” Phillips said. “However, I do not agree with the existence of the law and believe FanDuel and DraftKings should be legal.”

Phillips said he disagrees with banning daily fantasy sports like DraftKings and FanDuel because they require more skill than current legal methods of gambling such as the lottery. 

“I think the lottery and scratch offs are way worse and have a lot more gambling and  less skill than sports betting sites and they are legal,” Phillips said. “The lottery and scratch offs is spending money without a statistical approach — you are hoping to get ‘lucky’ to win. Whereas online sports betting a player can increase their odds of winning through research and statistical analysis.”

Paxton’s opinion comes after other attorneys general — including those of New York, Illinois and Nevada — have recently issued opinions challenging the legality of daily fantasy sports.

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