Texas has joined New York on the list of states that consider daily fantasy illegal.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton ruled Tuesday that the daily betting games made popular by Fan Duel and DraftKings involve significant elements of chance, not just skill, are therefore constitute gambling.
“It’s my duty as Attorney General to look to the law, as passed by the people’s representatives, to answer the questions put to this office,” Paxton said in a statement. “Paid daily ‘fantasy sports’ operators claim they can legally operate as an unregulated house, but none of their arguments square with existing Texas law. Simply put, it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut.
“These sites are also wrong in claiming an actual-contestant exception, which applies only to contestants in an actual skill or sporting event,” Paxton added. “And unlike some other states, Texas law only requires ‘partial chance’ for something to be gambling; it does not require that chance predominate.”
This decision is another blow to Fan Duel and DraftKings, who find themselves embroiled in legal battles around the country. Texas and New York, the two states to have banned daily fantasy, are the second and fourth most populated states in the U.S., respectively.
In declaring that DFS involved elements of chance, Paxton cited several incidents that particularly conveyed the randomness of sports, beginning with one close to Texas fans’ hearts.
Paxton’s point is that if you had chosen to start Robin Ventura in DFS on August 4, 1993 (long before DFS existed, obviously), you would have had no way of knowing he would be ejected in the third inning. If you had chosen to start Nolan Ryan that day, you would have… been totally fine, because somehow Ryan was not ejected for pummeling Ventura.