Fantasy Football: The Legal Reality

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Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- If you're like us, you're already worrying about who you're going to start this Sunday on your fake football team. But if your league has an entry fee, you may well be engaged in an illegal activity.

As long as you report your fantasy football winnings to the IRS, under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006, you're probably fine with the feds. However, in many cases, state gaming laws are stricter. See more +

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- If you're like us, you're already worrying about who you're going to start this Sunday on your fake football team. But if your league has an entry fee, you may well be engaged in an illegal activity.

As long as you report your fantasy football winnings to the IRS, under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006, you're probably fine with the feds. However, in many cases, state gaming laws are stricter.

As Professor Marc Edelman explains in his Harvard law journal article, some states make fantasy football illegal if results are based, even in the smallest part, on chance.

That's right chance, you know, like that time Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray suffered a season-ending fractured right ankle on a first-quarter carry, but don’t get us started.

Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, and Tennessee all follow this rule.

In a handful of other states -- including Florida and Kansas -- state authorities have called into doubt the legality of fantasy football for money under any circumstances.

So just remember, while football may be 80% mental and 40% physical, fantasy football is only about 85% legal.

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