AUSTIN– Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an advisory opinion on Jan. 19 essentially stating fantasy sport gambling is illegal under Texas law.
According to section 47.02 of the Penal Code, a person commits an offense if he or she makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest.
“Because the outcome of games in daily fantasy sports leagues depends partially on chance, an individual's payment of a fee to participate in such activities is a bet,” the opinion states. “Accordingly, a court would likely determine that participation in daily fantasy sports leagues is illegal gambling under section 47.02 of the Penal Code.”
In light of findings in New York and Nevada, State Rep. Myra Crownover, a Republican, requested the opinion in November, seeking clarification on whether daily sports leagues such as DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com are permissible under Texas law.
The request also sought to clarify whether it’s legal to participate in fantasy sports leagues where the house does not take a “rake” and the participants only wager amongst themselves.
“Though participating in a traditional fantasy sports league is also illegal gambling under section 47.02, participants in such leagues may avail themselves of a statutory defense to prosecution … when play is in a private place, no person receives any economic benefit other than personal winnings, and the risks of winning or losing are the same for all participants,” Paxton’s opinion states.
Opinion No. KP-0057