Is Playing Real Money Daily Fantasy Football Legal in the UK?

If you’re interested in playing real money daily fantasy football, you may well have been following the saga about legality in the United States.

Now prospective players in the UK may well wonder about whether daily fantasy football counts as gambling in the UK. Is it legal to play for real cash? Well the short answer is yes. However, with all things related to online gambling, the short answer doesn’t really tell the whole story. Let me explain…

UK Law and Daily Fantasy Sports

Justice scales with gavel

In the US, the big argument has been over whether daily fantasy sports games are gambling (in which case it would be largely illegal) or skill-based (in which case it would largely be legal).

UK law makers tend to be a little less obstinate than their American counterparts. As such, legislation was ready for the arrival of daily fantasy sports on these shores. See, we Brits think ahead; we had the laws we need in place almost a decade before daily fantasy sports reared its head.

The 2005 Gambling Act defines real money daily fantasy football as remote gambling. We participate in the gambling remotely through the internet on smartphones or laptops. As such, it is licensed and regulated much the same way as online and mobile casinos. It’s completely legal to play real money daily fantasy football at a licensed site which operates legally.

You should be able to identify legally run sites by looking for a license number (which you can cross reference with the UK Gambling Commission). This acts as your defence against unscrupulous operators. The license means that the operator is beholden to the rules of the Gambling Act. This includes how they look after your money, how they advertise, who they allow to gamble, and what kind of bonuses they offer (among other things).

Of course, the problem with this is that some daily fantasy football sites might take it upon themselves to act outside the law and without a license. Luckily, we have a way of making sure these sorts of operators don’t get out of hand…

The UK Gambling Commission

British union jack flag

You’ve probably heard of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – this is the body that is responsible for safeguarding us players against illegal behaviour by gambling operators. In essence, they enforce the rules set out in the Gambling Act. They issue gambling licenses, track down unlicensed operators, and investigate instances of illegal or fraudulent gambling.

You’ll be pleased to hear, then, that daily fantasy football comes under the remit of the UKGC. Every licensed site comes under its remit and is answerable to them. They make sure sites don’t lie about what you can win; they make sure your kids can’t gamble; and they make sure you get the payouts you’ve won.

The main headline is: don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal for you to play real money daily fantasy sports!

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