The question of whether Fantasy Sports is legal or not is really an issue for UK players – this side of the pond it’s as legal as any other type of online gambling and an organisation can provide this service as long as they abide by the regulatory conditions imposed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The ongoing problem for providers of Fantasy Sports is the question of legality in the United States – this is the most valuable and most important market but the constantly shifting sands always threaten to derail a very profitable industry.
Before 2006 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), online gambling was as much a part of internet life as it is in other progressive parts of the world; however at a stroke the UIGEA prohibited funds transfers to online casinos and their ilk, seemingly as part of some sort of misguided moral campaign.
Although this effectively put the lid on the US online casino industry, Fantasy Sports were still believed to be exempt as the nature of the competitions (pre-established prizes, real world stats, elements of skill) excluded them from the tentacles of the UIGEA. This belief was unfounded however and those who drew up the bill have since stated that this was the case.
This brings is nearer to the current situation in which a number of states have banned Fantasy Sports, additionally invoking the Federal Wire Act and Illegal Gambling Business Act which bans interstate sports betting. So is this activity sports betting in the traditional sense? That’s what individual states are now trying to figure out and while it’s something of a stretch to say that the outcomes may affect the future of Fantasy Sports, the banning of it in certain states will certainly make a dent in the profits of these entrepreneurial companies.
The good news for UK players is that Daily Fantasy Sports will never be illegal here and we should start to see the big US operators fighting for our cash very soon.