By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
MONTGOMERY, Ala.— In a statement released on Tuesday, April 5, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced that paid online fantasy sports sites constitute illegal gambling under current state laws, ruling the “Draftkings.com” and “FanDuel.com” websites illegal.
Strange’s office issued a cease and desist letter to both DraftKings and FanDuel, ordering them to terminate operations within the state by May 1, 2016. The AG’s decision makes Alabama the twelfth state to designate the websites as gambling and deem them illegal.
The review came after two Birmingham men sued the websites over gambling debt owed; claiming that the websites were illegal under Alabama laws. Legal representatives from both websites made the argument that building a fantasy roster requires a large amount of skill and does not qualify as a game of chance.
After a full review, Strange determined that users of the website have no control over the performance of the athletes, leaving the results up to chance.
“In Alabama, an activity constitutes illegal gambling if a person stakes something of value on a contest of chance, even when skill is involved, in order to win a prize,” Strange said. “In paid daily fantasy sports contests, players create a ‘fantasy roster’ of real-life athletes. Each athlete is awarded points based on his or her performance, and the ‘owners’ of the teams with the highest scoring rosters win cash prizes.
“There is, of course, a measure of skill involved in creating a fantasy roster. But in the end, contestants have no control over the performance of the players on their rosters. For example, a player could fall ill before a game, be injured in pre-game warm-ups, or miss a large portion of the game due to injury or equipment failure. All of these factors, and many more, are outside the control of a fantasy sports player. Thus, the results of paid daily fantasy sports contests depend to a large degree on chance.”
Draftkings and FanDuel have until May 1, 2016 to cease all operations in the State of Alabama.