As the 2016 NFL season gets under way this week, daily fantasy sports will once again take over a huge swath of the country, but not everyone’s allowed in on the action. Many states have either barred daily fantasy sports or top sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have stopped serving them amid legal challenges from state attorney generals.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, more than 57.4 million people in the United States and Canada have played daily fantasy sports this year alone. It’s a slight bump from the 56.8 million who played last year, and a 55.7 percent rise from the 32 million users back in 2010.
The increase in users over the last five years has correlated with the amount of money spent on daily fantasy sports. The FSTA says fantasy sports players spent $556 “on league-related costs, single-player challenges, and league-related materials” over the last 12 months, and daily fantasy sports players are far outspending traditional fantasy players at $318 compared to $184.
Defending champion Denver Broncos play host to the Carolina Panthers and officially kick-off the new NFL season Thursday night. Ahead of the season, daily fantasy sports sites have either completely pulled out of or nearly left 10 states in the U.S.: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington, according to Legal Sports Report.
In almost every case, the sites do not operate because of state attorney generals who view daily fantasy sports as illegal gambling. In the cases of Delaware and Idaho, Fantasy Aces is still available to daily fantasy sports players, according to Legal Sports Report.
The industry won a huge battle in June when the New York State Senate passed a bill that said fantasy sports did not constitute gambling. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed last month the bill into law. The win came after months of lobbying from DraftKings and FanDuel.
"Daily fantasy sports have proven to be popular in New York, but until now have operated with no supervision and no protections for players," Cuomo said in a statement to announce the bill’s signing on Aug. 3. "This legislation strikes the right balance that allows this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators, new consumer protections, and more funding for education.”