CNIGA Has Expressed Concern with Daily Fantasy Sports ‘pick’em’ Games, Claims They Should be Classified as Illegal Sports Wagering

February 11, 2024 | Sports Betting

California (February 9, 2024) — The California Indian Nations Gaming Association (CNIGA) has expressed concerns over daily fantasy sports pick’em games, referring to them as “illegal sports wagering” in a letter to the state Attorney General Rob Bonta. The letter, submitted by CNIGA chairman James Siva, raises several points outlining why pick’em games should be considered illegal sports wagering.

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The CNIGA argues that participants in pick’em games are not managing a fantasy or simulation sports team, which is a key element associated with traditional fantasy sports contests. Additionally, the letter notes that operators of pick’em games allow participants to place bets on the performance statistics of two athletes involved in different types of sporting events. Moreover, major operators of pick’em games are accused of having participants play against the “house,” rather than engaging in a competition where participants pit their fantasy teams against each other.

California is currently the largest daily fantasy sports market in the United States, generating approximately $200 million in annual entry fees. However, the market remains unregulated, with the state not collecting any taxes on it.

The state Attorney General’s office is conducting a review to determine whether California’s gambling laws prohibit daily fantasy sports. The investigation was initiated following a letter from state Senator Scott Wilk in October, inquiring about the skill-based nature of DFS and whether they might be considered games of chance under state gaming laws.

Attorney General Bonta has sought opinions from interested parties on the question of whether California law prohibits the offering and operation of daily fantasy sports betting platforms within the state, regardless of the location of the operators and associated technology. There is currently no specified timeline for the completion of the investigation.


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