Delaware DOJ Declares Daily Fantasy Sports Illegal in That State

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The Delaware Department of Justice announced Friday that real cash Daily Fantasy Sports sites have officially been ordered to cease operations in that state. 

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The DOJ initially notified state regulators initially notified state regulators that such contests were considered illegal under state law but reframed from taking action at the time.

The DOJ issued the following statement Friday:

The Delaware Constitution clearly articulates the general prohibition of gambling in the State. Specifically, Article II, section 17 prohibits "all forms of gambling" except "(a) Lotteries under State control for the purpose of raising funds." Online fantasy sports games that are offered in Delaware are not presently under State control." Relying on the Delaware Constitution, as well as State and Federal case law, DOJ attorneys determined that online fantasy contests that involve payment for playing and monetary rewards constitute gambling because chance, as opposed to skill, is the dominant factor in the outcome of these contests.

An online fantasy sports contestant selects fantasy players and teams, but has no role in how these players actually perform once the real-life games or events occur. Real-life players perform better on some days than on others. The weather can affect how a real-life player performs. A manager or coach can decide not to use certain real-life players, who may be injured during a game or, for example in the football context, may not run the ball as often or catch as many passes as a skilled participant might expect. The most skilled participants might lose and less skilled participants might win because of what actually happens during the real-life game. In other words, real-life players are human and human behavior is unpredictable. This is why chance--and not skill--is the dominant factor in online fantasy sports contests and why these contests are illegal in Delaware.

- Aaron Goldstein,

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