Gambling laws in Washington are extremely strict and daily fantasy sports have always been illegal. No daily fantasy sports operators are active in the Evergreen State and this does not appear set to change anytime soon. In 2016, it was clarified that daily fantasy sports are not exempt from illegal gambling laws and the penalties for breaking them are severe, even in comparison with other states where daily fantasy sports is prohibited. Two unsuccessful bills within the state legislature in 2019 have given minor cause for hope, but no change is imminent.
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Online Daily Fantasy Sports in Washington – Overview
Washington is one of five states – along with Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana and Montana – where daily fantasy sports have been historically banned. Unlike many other states, the law in Washington is unambiguous and daily fantasy sports is 100% illegal. With harsh penalties in place for breaking illegal gambling laws, no daily fantasy sports operators currently accept players from the Evergreen State.
Despite the nationwide push for the legalization of daily fantasy sports, plans to introduce legislation that would lift this ban in Washington are in their infancy. Despite a large population and a thriving sports culture, the state legislature has not come close to legalizing daily fantasy sports, which is in part a reflection of the state’s historically conservative attitude to all forms of gambling.
Daily fantasy sports fans in Washington are hopeful that the stratospheric growth of these games in recent years and their widespread availability in other states will add to the pressure on state lawmakers to reconsider the current prohibition. Apart from the potential lost tax revenue for the state coffers, advocates point to the inequity of the fact that anyone of age in Oregon can participate while those in Washington cannot. If we made you curious enough, you can take a look at the page we have for gambling in Washington in general. Anyway, here is a list of daily fantasy sports available in Washington:
Online Daily Fantasy NFL – when the draft’s the best part, how can you only do one
The last ten years have been a good time to be a football fan in Washington, as the Seattle Seahawks have built a dynasty under Pete Carroll and the legendary “Legend of Boom”, culminating with a runaway Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos in 2013. It’s a safe bet that – if daily fantasy sports were legalized in Washington in the future – daily NFL fantasy would be huge. Just remember, as tempting as it is to pick your favorite players, the key to this game is finding the lesser-known players who will provide excellent value in the draft.
Online Daily Fantasy NHL – it pays to keep up with the puck
It’s a very exciting time for hockey fans in Washington as Seattle will have its own NHL team from 2021, continuing a long and rich tradition of the sport in the Evergreen State. Given this passion for hockey and the state’s population of over 7.5 million, it stands to reason that NHL daily fantasy will be big business here, if it is eventually legalized. Things move fast during the six-month hockey season so daily draft do-overs are a blessing: stay up-to-date with performances and watch your hard work pay off.
Online Daily Fantasy MLS – end-to-end sports action
The Seattle Sounders FC are the pride of Washington’s booming soccer scene and are one of the MLS’ well-established franchises, with legendary US forward Clint Dempsey among their alumni. If MLS Fantasy ever arrives in the Evergreen State, you can expect plenty of Washingtonians to sign up. Nothing racks up points like goals so make sure you know which players are in form. While everyone’s looking at the forwards, you can get a lot of value from defenders and midfielders who frequently find the net.
Online Daily Fantasy MLB – it means so much more than a homerun
Times have been tough for Washington’s major league baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, having not qualified for the playoffs since their record-breaking 116-win season in 2001. However, this has not diminished Washingtonian’s passion for the sport and MLB Fantasy would likely be very popular here. With games every night, you need some serious stamina for season-long formats so daily fantasy offers an easier alternative with less of a time commitment.
College Fantasy Sport – there’s no pride like college pride
As one of the most outdoorsy states, Washington has a wealth of sports fans, who avidly follow amateur leagues as well as the pros. Washington state is home to five colleges that compete in NCAA Division I and have representatives in all the major sports, including football, basketball, baseball and soccer. Should it be legalized by the state legislature, one would expect college daily fantasy sports to be huge. The two representatives in the PAC-12 Conference, the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars, reliably draw big crowds to their game. With a capacity of over 70,000, Husky Stadium has been described as “The Greatest Setting in College Football” and recognized as one of the loudest venues in the country.
Timeline of Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation
Daily fantasy sports has always been illegal in Washington. Unlike other states where operators work under legal ambiguity, the law in the Evergreen State is very clear and all forms of online gambling are illegal. This stems from a 2006 law passed in the state that criminalized online gambling, which was reinforced in 2011. This law was presumed to cover daily fantasy sports, which are exclusively played online, and this was specifically clarified in 2016. Only time will tell if Washington changes course and reconsiders its opposition, joining a growing number of states that have legalized daily fantasy sports.
|2019||Two bills are introduced in the state legislature to permit restricted forms of gambling, but both are unsuccessful.|
|2016||Daily fantasy sports is specifically named as a form of illegal online gambling in Washington state.|
|2011||The 2006 law outlawing online gambling in Washington is reinforced.|
|2006||The Washington state legislature bans all forms of online gambling.|
|2006||US Congress enacts the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits betting on games of chance, but excludes fantasy sports in states where they are designated games of skill.|
Legal Daily Fantasy Betting Age in Washington
Daily fantasy sports in Washington is illegal, but the theoretical minimum age to play would likely match the state’s gambling age, which is 18 years old. Penalties for breaking gambling laws in the Evergreen State are among the strictest in the US, as demonstrated by a 2016 bill in the state legislature that would have made fantasy football advertisement a Class C felony. In 2011, the state’s gambling commission also pursued criminal charges against a resident who hosted NASCAR fantasy contests. In short, gamers would be well-advised to stay on the right side of the law here.
DFS Betting Age
Is Daily Fantasy Betting Legal Outside of the State?
In some states, such as Washington, the legal status of daily fantasy sports is clear and unambiguous. In others, operators and participants cannot be sure whether or not they are engaging in illegal gambling and, if they are, whether or not this is enforced. Much of this uncertainty is rooted in the legal question of whether or not daily fantasy sports is a game of chance or skill. Conceptually, it is evidently related to season-long fantasy contests, where the stakes are comparatively low and players must rely on knowledge and strategy to consistently win. Opponents contest, however, that in practice it more closely resembles slot machines and other games of chance. This legal question is devolved to the state. Unless there is a clear state law governing the issue, it generally hinges on an opinion from the state attorney general, if they have given one.
Taxes on Daily Fantasy Winnings: Legal Overview
While Washington does not collect a gambling tax, players must report any annual net profit over $600 to the IRS as taxable income. Given Washington’s historical opposition to all forms of gambling, the absence of any state tax could well be revisited if the Evergreen State takes a more liberal attitude to certain forms of gambling. For the time being, however, the illegality of all daily fantasy sports makes the question of taxes on winnings a moot point.
Upcoming Regulation Changes to Be Aware Of
Daily fantasy sports fans (and operators) in Washington are going to be kept waiting for the foreseeable future, as there are no current plans to legalize them in the Evergreen State. The issue is not high on the legislative agenda, despite substantial steps towards legalization being made in states across the US. It is difficult to gauge the appetite for legalization among Washingtonians. In other states with historically conservative attitudes towards gambling, such as Arizona, many residents are resistant to the possibility of legalization. There is no doubt, however, over the popularity of sports in Washington and the size of the potential market for daily fantasy sports, if it became legal. The legal status of daily fantasy sports in a state can change very quickly, even in states with long-standing opposition to gambling, such as Iowa. We shall see if Washington follows suit.