Are Fantasy Sports ILLEGAL In Iowa?
Who knew that playing fantasy football could get you in trouble with the law?
If you're in Iowa, are you breaking the law by playing Fantasy Football with your buddies for money?
The answer is... complicated.
According to Iowa law, winning monetary prizes from fantasy sports betting is considered illegal by the Iowa attorney general and the fantasy sports industry. But, there is no law that specifically addresses fantasy sports.
This goes all the way to a 1931 court case which declared any monetary gaming service based on chance illegal. The law is written so broadly that an argument that this includes fantasy sports could realistically hold up in court.
No Iowa citizens have been prosecuted for playing fantasy sports, but the Attorney General has made it clear, "Any fantasy sports league requires an entry fee or offers participants the chance to win a prize is illegal."
Because of this, many sites that offer the payout themselves (FanDuel, Draft Kings, etc.) refrain from paying out winnings to residents of Iowa.
Last year, a bill was drafted which called for fantasy sports to be declared "a game of skill" instead of "a game of chance", which would liberate fantasy sports from the gambling law.
The bill passed the senate by a wide margin, 32-16, back in March and is still awaiting a vote from the House of Representatives.
So are Fantasy Sports technically illegal in Iowa? Yes.
Will you be prosecuted for playing in a Fantasy Football league with your buddies?
Nobody ever has.