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Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in the US? Find Out Where is DFS Legal! (Updated in April 2024)

Last Updated on 27.03.2024
Fact checked by: Alex Cabal

Given the rise of Fantasy-style sites, many regulation efforts have been made to ensure the safety of players. With that, this question arises: “are daily Fantasy sports legal to take part in?”

Well firstly, some good news. Daily fantasy sports are legal in several states across the US and also Canada – except from Ontario. However, not every DFS site is legal in every state, because each state has its licensing requirements. So let’s dive deeper and look into the legal landscape of DFS globally.

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To understand how the legal landscape of daily fantasy sports works in the United States, we need to explore the federal and state-level laws separately.

Federal legislation

If you haven’t heard of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (the “UIGEA”), it’s perhaps the most important federal-level legislation on iGaming that you should read up on. It was passed by Congress in 2006, and it exempted fantasy sports based on certain parameters.

Before I tell you what those are though, I want to clarify that fantasy sports is a game of skill. Sure, you might get lucky and your underperforming pick might suddenly have a great game day, but playing fantasy sports regularly and playing it well takes a lot of skill. You need to know a lot about what’s currently happening, which players are doing well, have a strategy, and so on.

Since fantasy sports is a game of skill, it is largely legal across the United States. For daily fantasy sports sites to be considered legal, they need to adhere to the following policies outlined in the Fantasy Sports Contests Act. Here’s what they say about DFS:

  • The value of all prizes and awards being offered by the daily fantasy sports sites should be made known to all participants in advance of the contest.
  • The winning outcomes should be a testament to the knowledge and skill of the participants who are playing the contest.
  • Participants cannot have a winning outcome based on any sort of score, point spread, or performance of a single actual team or combination of teams or on the performance of a sole athlete in any single actual event.

To make the last point clear, it essentially prevents fantasy sports from becoming gambling on an actual team, since there are different laws and licensing requirements for that. So, if you want to draft the whole New York Knicks team for fantasy basketball betting, you unfortunately cannot do that. You can only draw players from different teams.

State-level legislation 

As I mentioned earlier, although Federal legislation considers DFS legal, you cannot play DFS in every State across the US. This is because each State has its laws and licensing requirements which the DFS site has to fulfill to be able to launch in that State.

So, ideally, if any particular sight has caught your attention, just go to their website directly and check whether they are legal in your state or not. Sometimes, there might be discrepancies even among different game types on the same site. For example, you can play Underdog Fantasy Draft in Kansas but not the Pick’em format, so it’s best to review this information in advance.

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The legal landscape for DFS sites is in flux and each State has its regulations. So it might just be the case that a certain DFS format is legal in State X whereas another DFS format is not legal in the same state. Additionally, each DFS site has to secure its license to operate in a State, and the legality for different DFS sites in the same state can also differ. Here is a quick list of states that have an overarching blanket ban on DFS sites of any kind.

StateDFS Legal Status
HawaiiNo
IdahoNo
MontanaNo
NevadaNo
WashingtonNo

If you are looking for daily fantasy sports sites that are legal in the majority of the US states, I have got you covered. After some painstaking research, I can confirm that the brands below have some of the widest legal coverage and make for smart DFS site choices.

Underdog Fantasy

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Underdog Fantasy is one of the newest daily fantasy sports sites in the industry but they are a beast. Their site design, game interface formats, and marketing are all out of this world. All of these combined have helped Underdog Fantasy, a Brooklyn-based fantasy sports company become one of the most popular new DFS sites across America.

And if you’re still wondering where daily fantasy sport is legal, with Underdog Fantasy you can play DFS legally across 32 US states and all of Canada, except the province of Ontario. I love that there is a very easy-to-understand map on their homepage where you can see the different legal statuses of Pick’em and Draft, the two popular formats on the site, across the US. It is my go-to site in terms of the player experience and the fun quotient of DFS gaming.

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  • Legal in most states
  • Steep learning curve for beginners

There is no way that an iGaming fan hasn’t heard of DraftKings. With some of the biggest celebrity endorsements in the industry and a top-notch sportsbook, casino, and DFS site all packed into one, DraftKings is the King of iGaming. The DraftKings fantasy sports site and app have been around for a very long time, becoming one of the first go-to sites for DFS lovers. DraftKings is a very big company and has very good resources, which is why they are legal in several states across the US. According to my review, there are only 5 states in the US where DraftKings fantasy is not legal – Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. Hawaii is also not on the list of DFS legal states for DraftKings.

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  • Several daily and weekly bonuses
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  • Legal in 44 US states
  • VIP program can be better

FanDuel is typically one of the other industry giants that people think of when they think of the top daily fantasy sports sites. If you want to know which fantasy football app is best, I would point to the FanDuel app hands down. It has revolutionized mobile fantasy sports and is one of the best fantasy apps in the market at the moment.  As per my latest review of FanDuel legal states, you can currently play the app’s fantasy sports section in 44 states across the United States. Note that you cannot play FanDuel daily fantasy in Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington – at least currently. As you can see, the site has a pretty wide coverage and I am excited to see how it grows in the coming years.

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  • Good sports selection
  • Legal in only 25 states

I simply love the ParlayPlay fantasy sports site because it has a very active player community while also being very involved in keeping the fun aspect of DFS alive. It is legal in 25 US states at the moment, which is not as high as some of the older brands. However, what sets ParlayPlay apart is that it is one of the easiest and most beginner-friendly sites in the market.

If you are new to daily fantasy sports, the ParlayPlay app is ideal for you because – it is very easy and uncomplicated. The gaming formats are very straightforward including your typical roster style head-to-head drafts. There are also plenty of different sports to choose from and the ParlayPlay social media accounts keep announcing new promos all the time.

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OwnersBox

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  • Buy-ins start from $1
  • Easy platform to navigate
  • Popular Head 2 Head contests
  • Lacking 24/7 customer support

While it is highly likely that you haven’t heard of OwnersBox, you absolutely should have them on your radar. This new and trendy DFS site has been slowly racing ahead to the top of the DFS charts and is already legal in over 35 US states,I found the site to be very welcoming, inclusive, and easy-to-understand even for beginners. The Head 2 Head contests that they have on their site are very popular and kept the online DFS community buzzing during the last NFL season. They also make sure to be compliant with all the rules I explained at the beginning of the article, so no need to worry about those legal aspects – that is, if you’re in a legal US state.

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Even though I compiled a list of the legal and reputed DFS sites for you, I am not naive to think you won’t seek out new adventures along the way! So, here’s my two cents, try out new DFS sites but always make sure to check whether they are legal in your state.

How to do that? Just follow this three-step process below and you and your money should be safe.

Step 1

Check whether the site has a valid license. You can find the license information at the bottom of the site’s homepage. Remember, they are obligated to post this information and, if it’s missing that info, that’s a major red flag and you should immediately retreat!

Step 2

Once you find the license that the site has, go to the website of that license issuer and check whether the site is featured on their list of licensed DFS sites. 

Step 3

The final check I always recommend is a simple Google Search just to be sure that the site is not involved in anything shady that would hurt your interest. Some DFS sites, despite being legal, have gone bankrupt or have scammed people of their money, so always make sure to research the site a little in advance. 

If you follow this 3-step audit process, you will end up with all the information you need to correctly assess the legal status of a DFS site.

Final thoughts 

Now that you know where daily fantasy sports are legal you should be set to join the fun in this industry that is booming almost everywhere. Do keep in mind that most US states are happy to let DFS sites legally operate under their jurisdictions, as it is generating billions of dollars in revenue, but some are still skeptical about it. As a starter, you can blindly trust the legal status of Underdog Fantasy, DraftKings, FanDuel, ParlayPlay, and Ownnersbox, which I have verified myself. As for others, make sure to follow the steps outlined in the article and research whether they are legal in your state. That done, you should be set for a secure, fun, and engaging experience with DFS.

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Daily fantasy sports is legal in several states across the US and many regions of Canada, except for the region of Ontario. The legality of each DFS site will look different because different states have different legal requirements. So, check the site you want to play on for custom information about its legal status in your place of residence.

Some of the top daily fantasy sites that are legal in the majority of the US states include DraftKings, FanDuel, OwnersBox, ParlayPlay, and Underdog Fantasy. 

 The DFS regulations and licensing requirements are different for each state, and you’ll have to individually check for the state you want to play in. As a heads up, the states that have a blanket ban on DFS sites include Washington, Montana, Nevada, and Idaho.

🗽 Can I play on DFS sites in New York?

It will depend on the site you want to play on. The fact is, most DFS sites are legal in the state of New York, but always make sure to check in advance whether the site you choose is particularly legal in NY or not. 

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Editor - Esports Journalist
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Editor - Casino Expert
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Editor - Responsible Gambling

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