Idaho Daily Fantasy Sports. Are DFS Sites Legal in ID 2023?

Idaho’s daily fantasy sports (DFS) scene has experienced significant ups and downs in recent years. With a passionate community of sports enthusiasts, the state has seen a growing interest in DFS as a form of entertainment and skill-based competition. However, Idaho’s approach to DFS has been subject to legal controversies, resulting in a ban on the activity. This article delves into the history of DFS in Idaho, explores the implications of the ban, and examines the prospects for future legalization. Whether you’re a DFS enthusiast or interested in the evolving landscape of online sports competitions, this article will provide valuable insights.

Idaho Daily Fantasy Sports

Idaho Daily Fantasy Sports – Highlights

  • ❌ Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are currently illegal in Idaho and the major DFS operators have ceased their operations in the state. 
  • 🚫 The legalization status for various sports including NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS is yet to be determined (TBD). 
  • 📜 Idaho’s gambling laws are quite conservative with all forms of gambling, except for lottery, bingo, and horse racing, being illegal. 
  • ⚖️ The State Attorney General declared that DFS does not align with state gambling laws, leading to their illegality.
  • 🚀 There is hope for the return of DFS betting in Idaho, with possibilities of legalization in the future. 
  • 🏈 If DFS gets legalized, the NFL Fantasy League could likely be the most popular among Idaho residents.
  • 🏀 NBA and ⚾ MLB Fantasy would also likely gain popularity among the residents.
  • 🎓 College sports, especially college football, enjoy significant followings in Idaho.
  • 🕰️ The state has a history of tight gambling laws, with DFS declared illegal by the Idaho state Attorney General in 2016.
  • 🎂 The legal gambling age in Idaho is 18 years old.
  • 🍺 The legal drinking age in Idaho is 21 years old.
  • 🌿 Recreational smoking of cannabis is still illegal in Idaho.
  • 💸 As gambling on DFS is illegal in Idaho, there’s no way to declare this income on an annual tax return.
  • 🚧 Despite public attitudes slowly shifting, there hasn’t been any significant legislative move to legalize DFS in Idaho.

The History of Daily Fantasy Sports in Idaho

To fully comprehend the DFS situation in Idaho, it’s crucial to trace its history and understand its evolution. This journey commences long before DFS became a household term.

Pre-Legalization Era

In the early days, fantasy sports in Idaho, much like in other states, existed mainly in informal, small-scale settings. Groups of friends and co-workers would often organize their own fantasy leagues, generally focused around popular sports like football and baseball.

While the first spark of legal uncertainty for DFS in Idaho began in the mid-2010s, it wasn’t until 2016 that things came to a head. The state’s Attorney General released an official statement that year deeming DFS as a form of gambling and therefore illegal under the state’s existing laws. The rationale for this decision revolved around the idea that DFS involved elements of chance in addition to skill, thus falling within the definition of gambling.

Below is a table detailing the key events leading up to and following this pivotal declaration

2010 Rise of DFS Platforms

Online Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platforms, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, gained popularity in Idaho. This mirrored a national trend as these platforms began to explode in popularity across the United States.

2012 First Legal Challenges

The legality of DFS platforms first started to be challenged in other states. While Idaho was not immediately impacted, it marked the beginning of legal scrutiny that would eventually touch all states.

2015 Surge in National Debate

National debate around the legal status of DFS intensified. This was largely due to a scandal involving allegations of insider trading at two major DFS companies. The events brought DFS to the forefront of public consciousness and regulatory scrutiny.

2016 Legal Scrutiny Begins in Idaho

Questions about the legality of DFS in Idaho started to emerge. Legal challenges in other states piqued the interest of lawmakers and regulators in Idaho.

2016 Attorney General’s Declaration

Idaho’s Attorney General declared DFS to be a form of gambling. As a result, it was deemed illegal under existing state law. The decision hinged on the idea that DFS involves elements of chance in addition to skill, which brought it within the definition of gambling.

2016 – Present. Legal Challenges & Appeals

DFS platforms and supporters have mounted legal challenges to the Attorney General’s declaration, resulting in an ongoing legal battle in state and potentially federal courts. While the situation is still developing, the impact on DFS users and the companies that provide these services has been significant.

The DFS Legality Controversy

The DFS legal controversy is not unique to Idaho. Across the United States, the status of DFS has been a contentious issue. In many states, the key question is whether DFS contests are games of chance or skill. The answer to this question determines if DFS falls under gambling laws and regulations. This is because gambling typically refers to activities where chance predominates over skill, while games of skill are often exempt from gambling prohibitions.

In Idaho, the judge ruled that DFS contests involve enough elements of chance to classify them as gambling, thus making DFS illegal. However, this interpretation is subject to debate, and DFS advocates argue that DFS games require substantial skill and strategy.

Impact of the DFS Ban

The ban on DFS in Idaho has significantly impacted both its residents and its economy. Here we explore these effects in more detail.

Below is a table showing the impact on various stakeholders:

StakeholderImpact of DFS Ban
DFS OperatorsMajor DFS platforms ceased operations in Idaho, losing out on potential revenues from the state’s market.
Idaho PlayersIdaho residents were barred from participating in DFS, limiting their online gaming options.
Idaho EconomyThe state potentially missed out on revenue that could have been derived from the taxation of DFS operators and winnings.
Legal CommunityThe ban spurred ongoing debates among legal scholars and practitioners about the definition of gambling and the future of DFS legislation.

The complex situation surrounding DFS in Idaho continues to evolve, with various stakeholders advocating for changes to the existing laws. While the outcome remains uncertain, it is clear that the future of DFS in Idaho will continue to be a topic of interest for many.

Economic Impact

The ban on DFS has resulted in missed opportunities for economic growth and revenue generation for Idaho. By not legalizing and regulating DFS, the state has forfeited potential tax revenues from DFS operators. Furthermore, it has prevented local businesses from benefiting from the influx of DFS-related tourism and advertising partnerships. The economic impact of the ban extends beyond the DFS industry, as ancillary businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues, lose out on potential customers.

Impact on Players

The DFS ban has left a significant impact on Idaho’s DFS players. It has limited their ability to participate in paid DFS contests and engage in the competitive and strategic aspects of the game. Some players have shifted their focus to other states where DFS is legal, while others have turned to alternative forms of online sports gaming. The ban has also led to frustration and disappointment among Idaho’s DFS community, who feel their freedom to engage in a beloved hobby has been curtailed.

Prospects for DFS Legalization in Idaho

Despite the current ban, potential changes to Idaho’s DFS legislation might be on the horizon.

Recent Legislative Efforts

In recent years, discussions and legislative efforts have emerged to address the ban on DFS in Idaho. Lawmakers and industry stakeholders have engaged in debates and proposed bills aimed at legalizing and regulating DFS. These efforts reflect a growing recognition of the skill-based nature of DFS and the need for updated regulations to protect consumers. However, as of now, no significant changes to the ban have been implemented.

Public Sentiment and Predictions

Public sentiment surrounding DFS in Idaho remains divided. While some residents support legalization, citing the enjoyment and skill involved in DFS, others harbor concerns about its potential negative impact and association with gambling. The future of DFS in Idaho largely depends on the state’s lawmakers and their response to evolving public sentiment. As the landscape of online sports competitions continues to develop, it is crucial to stay informed about ongoing legislative changes and to engage in discussions about the potential benefits and risks associated with DFS.

The Influence of Online Sports Betting

Online Sports Betting

The legalization of online sports betting in various states has provided a boost to the DFS industry. It has shown lawmakers the economic potential of legalizing and regulating online sports-related gaming. As legal sportsbooks flourish in other states, they generate significant tax revenues, which could be an appealing prospect for Idaho lawmakers. Although sports betting and DFS are different, successful online sports betting regulations could potentially serve as a blueprint for DFS laws in Idaho.


The current ban on daily fantasy sports in Idaho has undoubtedly impacted both DFS players and the state’s economy. However, the future of DFS in Idaho holds potential for change. Through ongoing legislative efforts and evolving public sentiment, there is a possibility for DFS legalization and regulation. Whether you are an avid DFS player, a fan of sports competitions, or simply interested in the evolving landscape of online gaming, it is essential to remain engaged, informed, and supportive of efforts to shape the future of Idaho’s DFS scene. Stay tuned for updates and contribute to the conversations surrounding the legalization of DFS in Idaho.



No, DraftKings and FanDuel, two of the most prominent DFS platforms, are currently not legal in Idaho due to the state's ban on DFS.

The state's Attorney General declared DFS illegal because it was considered a form of gambling under the state's laws. The judge ruled that DFS contests involved enough elements of chance to be classified as gambling.

Idaho's laws on online gambling are conservative. Currently, all forms of online gambling, including DFS, are considered illegal.

While they are different activities, successful online sports betting regulations could potentially serve as a blueprint for DFS laws. If lawmakers see the economic benefits of regulated online sports betting, they might consider similar regulations for DFS.

The future of DFS in Idaho is currently uncertain. While there is a growing interest in DFS and online sports competitions, the state's gambling laws remain strict. However, changing public sentiments and legislative efforts could potentially lead to future legalization.

The legal gambling age in Idaho is 18 years old.