East Hawaii News

AG: FanDuel, DraftKings Considered Gambling in Hawai’i

January 27, 2016, 5:02 PM HST
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Fan Duel website screenshot.

Fan Duel website screenshot.

While daily fantasy sports contests like those run by FanDuel and DraftKings have gained national popularity, Hawai’i Attorney General Douglas Chin announced a formal advisory opinion on the gambling status of the websites on Wednesday.

Attorney General Chin noted that the contests are considered illegal gambling under existing Hawai’i laws.

“Gambling generally occurs under Hawai’i law when a person stakes or risks something of value upon a game of chance or upon any future contingent event not under the person’s control,” said Attorney General Chin. “The technology may have changed, but the vice has not.”

Hawai’i is often times recognized as having some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the country, according to the attorney general.

Across the country, nearly 60 million Americans participate in fantasy sports, with many of that number playing in a league with friends or colleagues. These groups are often considered as “social gambling.”

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Social gambling is legal in Hawai’i.

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Daily fantasy sports, however, generally involve competitions between hundreds or even thousands of people, and involve wagers of up to $1,000. In addition, they allow individual multiple entries leading to top prizes of up to $1 million.

Questions of law submitted to the Governor, the legislature or its members, or a state agency head by statute are answered under the Attorney General’s statute.

The Department of the Attorney General is weighing next steps, including civil or criminal enforcement, consistent with its opinion.

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