It’s not all hula dancing, bikinis and surfing in Hawaii as the Daily Fantasy war settles itself now in the vacationland. The ‘DFS is gambling’ virus has been spreading across the USA, and its latest victim presents itself via Attorney General Doug Chin.
Like many other fantasy opposers, the attorney believes DFS to be very much a form of gambling (check out our opinion on this topic). This is a huge problem for America, as unlike here in the UK, gambling is considered illegal. Big fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are therefore feeling the heat – if DFS is banned, they will eventually lose their business.
The Hawaiian attorney released an official document stating very clearly—in very bold, big letters—that ‘Daily fantasy sports contests constitute gambling under Hawaii law.’ Chin claims that DFS is completely unacceptable as the State takes gambling very seriously. As a matter of fact, gambling has been illegal in Hawaii since 1850!
Chin says that the State doesn’t have a problem with fantasy sports – in fact ‘nearly sixty million Americans participate in fantasy sports.’ It’s just the daily version of the game that is causing problems.
According to the document, the issue lies within specific practicalities. Fantasy sports is usually regarded as a ‘social gambling’ activity as it is played mostly between friends and family (and therefore not illegal according to some). DFS, however, is daily played between hundreds or thousands of people. The larger sums of money up for competition further strengthens the argument, as wagers of up to £1000 and prizes of £1 million can be earned.
How seriously does the State take the words of the attorney?
Pretty seriously…the Hawaiian attorney didn’t start this tirade out of the blue. He was actually summoned by Senator Blake, who requested his view on the subject. And it doesn’t take a genius to understand why, with all of the current frenzy over DFS (see below).
The Hawaiian state will now make a decision on whether or not they should ban DFS sites/games. The outcome will depend on the State’s firm conclusion about its gambling status.
What is happening everywhere else in the USA?
The commotion can be likened to a domino effect – it’s started and there’s no real stopping it now. We doubt that Hawaii will be the last piece to fall; there are sure to be other states to join the debate.
So far, there are 20 states in limbo over their decision on DFS, from the likes of New York and Texas, and a total of 5 states (Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana ,Washington) that have prohibited the online game.