Playing daily fantasy sports in Nevada

Nevada considers daily fantasy sports (DFS) to be gambling. Of course, it’s not against the law to gamble in Nevada. However, you do need a license to operate a gambling establishment. When the largest DFS operators across the United States got wind of this in 2015, they pulled out of the state, ceasing to accept entries from players in Nevada.

Executives from FanDuel and DraftKings took part in a Nevada Gaming Policy Committee hearing discussing DFS licensing in 2016. They even proposed regulatory reforms that would change way the state viewed DFS operators. However, they failed to change anything about the state’s DFS policy. As a result, DFS sites remain on the outside looking in.

State regulators invited DFS operators to apply for gaming licenses in the state. So far, only one company has. USFantasy received a license to operate a DFS-style pari-mutuel game. It now operates the game at more than 40 sportsbooks across the state.

Daily fantasy sports regulation in Nevada

Nevada’s position is that it can regulate DFS the same way it regulates all gambling inside its borders. In October 2015, the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the state Attorney General’s office declared operating a DFS contest constituted gambling. DraftKings, FanDuel, and other major DFS operators immediately pulled out of the state.

The state’s Gaming Policy Committee began considering alternatives to traditional licensing and regulation for DFS operators in 2016. The committee even discussed draft legislation put forward by DraftKings and FanDuel themselves. The draft bill was basically an amalgam of DFS legislation and laws passed in other states.

However, the committee as well as Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval ultimately came to the conclusion there is no need to change the current regulatory scheme for DFS.

DFS is currently not illegal in Nevada. It merely requires a license — like all forms of gaming in the state.

State regulators continue to ask DFS operators interested in Nevada to apply for gaming licenses.

Nevada’s Attorney General on daily fantasy sports

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt took office on January 2015. In the fall of that year, he opined DFS operators required a gaming license to continue accepting players in the state. Nevada gaming regulators then notified the largest DFS operators. They subsequently pulled out of the state.

Sandoval convened the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee to discuss the issue. The committee ultimately stood by Laxalt’s opinion on the matter.

In 2017, ESPN ran a story regarding the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas. The story claimed Sandoval had a conversation about DFS regulation with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Sandoval categorically denied that DFS ever came up in his conversation with Jones. He continued to reiterate support for Laxalt’s original opinion that fantasy sports constitutes sports betting, and thus requires a gaming license in Nevada. He went on to say Nevada has not altered its regulatory scheme or proposed any changes to Nevada law to accommodate any specific business, including DFS operators.

Nevada’s biggest daily fantasy sports sites

So far, only one company applied for a gaming license in Nevada. USFantasy applied for and received a license to operate a DFS-style pari-mutuel game. It now operates in more than 40 Nevada sportsbooks.

USFantasy Sports offers skilled fantasy sports contests in sports including:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Baseball
  • MMA
  • Boxing
  • Golf
  • NASCAR

It also offers common pool sports wagering propositions. These are like bets on who will score first in a particular game. You can bet on these sports props the same way you would on a horse race.

How popular is daily fantasy sports in Nevada?

Before major DFS operators pulled out of the state in 2015, Nevada was a relatively large market for DFS.

Estimates suggest DFS sites were pulling in more than $4 million in revenue from Nevada players annually. In fact, the state was responsible for approximately two percent of all DFS contest entry fees in the United States in 2015.

It is estimated Nevada had more than 11,000 active DFS players. Those players were responsible for more than $42 million in annual entry fees, putting the state in the top 15 in that category across the US.