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Here's where every state stands on daily fantasy sports

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

In August 2016, daily fantasy sports became fully legal in the state of New York.

The New York State legislature passed a fantasy sports bill in dramatic fashion at 2 a.m. at the end of its June session. It marked the end of a battle that started in November 2015, when Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent cease-and-desist letters to DraftKings and FanDuel, the leaders of the exploding DFS industry, demanding they stop accepting paid entries.

The process lasted nine months and cost DraftKings and FanDuel dearly in legal fees, negative headlines, and potentially lost customers. DraftKings and FanDuel reportedly took in a combined $3 billion in entry fees last year.

New York has more daily fantasy players than any other state, though research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming puts New York behind California in terms of total annual entry fees.

But the end of the New York legal battle was by no means an end to legal scrutiny for daily fantasy sports.

New York was a big domino to add to the list of states where DraftKings and FanDuel legally operate, but some states have moved in the opposite direction. As a result, DraftKings and FanDuel do not operate in all 50 states.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins

Here’s a list of where every state currently stands on the legality of daily fantasy sports. Yahoo Finance will update the list whenever a state changes status.

Last updated: Sept. 2, 2017

Some caveats: We are focusing on DraftKings and FanDuel because these companies hold more than 90% market share combined. And: Where these companies choose to operate is not necessarily a reflection of the law in those states. (See here for a quick legal primer.)

Not every state where DraftKings or FanDuel operate has expressly said daily fantasy sports contests are legal, and not every state where they’ve chosen not to operate has said it is illegal. In states where they don’t take paid entries, the companies do still allow free entries (contests with no monetary prize).

States where DraftKings and FanDuel both operate (39)

Alaska; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Kansas; Kentucky; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont, Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; and Washington, D.C.

States where DraftKings does not operate (10)

Alabama; Arizona; Delaware; Hawaii; Idaho; Iowa; Louisiana; Montana; Nevada; and Washington.

States where FanDuel does not operate (11)

Alabama; Arizona; Delaware; Hawaii; Idaho; Iowa; Louisiana; Montana; Nevada; Texas; and Washington.

Why the difference in Texas?

Texas: After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton offered his opinion that daily fantasy sports constitutes gambling under Texas law, FanDuel left Texas in March, but DraftKings stayed and will fight in court.

Looking to the future

Depending on your opinion of whether daily fantasy sports contests is a form of gambling, you might think 10 or 11 states is a small slice of the country in which to not offer service. And the general tide in the US is heading toward a legalized form of sports betting anyway.

On the other hand, unfortunately for DraftKings and FanDuel, the list of unfriendly states has grown in the past year, not shrunk.

Disclaimer: Yahoo offers its own daily fantasy sports product.

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite. Sportsbook is our recurring sports business video series.

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