Crime and Justice

Fantasy football illegal in Vermont, according to AG’s office

The state attorney general’s office says gambling on daily fantasy football games is illegal in Vermont and should remain so unless the Legislature wants to have a conversation about legalizing all kinds of gambling.

John Treadwell, an assistant attorney general, said in an interview that playing daily fantasy sports through websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel violates a law that specifically prohibits winning or losing money or any other valuable thing “by playing or hazard at any game.”

The law does not apply to playing the Vermont Lottery, betting on horse racing, or participating in games of chance legally run by nonprofits. The law carries a fine of $10 to $200 for players of the game, not facilitators. Treadwell estimated the law was last updated in 1947, if not earlier.

Treadwell testified Friday before the Senate Committee on Economic Development about a bill sponsored by Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, that would legalize and regulate fantasy sports.

The bill, S.223, would require the operator of the fantasy sports contest to keep people under age 18 from playing and to maintain cash reserves to pay players. It would also bar the operator from playing the game.

The bill would require fantasy sports operators to commission an independent audit every year and submit the results to the state attorney general’s office. The bill would carry fines of up to $1,000 for each violation.

Treadwell said he is not aware of any law enforcement agencies or state’s attorneys who enforce the gambling law. However, he said the state should not seek to legalize one form of gambling without looking at all of its gambling laws.

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Erin Mansfield

About Erin

Erin Mansfield covers health care and business for VTDigger. From 2013 to 2015, she wrote for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. Erin holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school. Erin has worked in public and private schools across Vermont and interned in the U.S. Senate. She has been published by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Society of Professional Journalists. She grew up in Killington.

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