Mississippi AG Declares DFS IllegalFebruary 4, 2016 12:02 pm
The Mississippi Attorney General has just ruled that daily fantasy sports wagering is illegal, in so doing adding the Magnolia State to a growing number of other US constituents that also see the game as a violation of their gambling laws. Other include Illinois, Hawaii, New York, Nevada, Texas, and Vermont.
After carefully examining daily fantasy sports, AG Jim Hood assessed that the game was similar to sports betting and horseracing, both of which are against the law in Mississippi. Commenting on the issue, Hood stated:
“In either case, winners are selected based on the tally of points earned by the athletes. This method of play is similar to betting on a horse race of making a parlay bet. It is different from betting on the outcome of a regular football game only in that the player can choose from any number of hypothetical ‘teams’ which the player can possibly pick or create, rather than being limited to picking from the teams available as they actually exist in the NFL.”
Operators within the daily fantasy sports industry often present their game as one of skill in order to differentiate it from other gambling pastimes, and so circumvent local gambling laws. Nevertheless, this argument was ultimately deemed irrelevant by the AG, who highlighted that DFS player picks still involved luck regarding how they would then perform during the game.
Besides, Hood dismissed the skill argument as irrelevant, categorizing DFS as gambling under the definition used in Section 97-33-1 of the state’s gambling code. According to the code, illegal gambling takes place under the following circumstances:
“If any person shall encourage, promote or play at any game, play or amusement.. or upon the result of any.. event or contingency whatever.”
On a slightly positive note, Hood made no suggestion about bringing a lawsuit against DFS operators for the time spent offering their products in Mississippi. In addition, Hood’s decision does allow for DFS regulation to be pursued at some stage in the future, if the state so chooses.