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Fine print points out fantasy-sports participation legalities in Arizona

Some Valley attorneys are at odds with the Attorney General’s office over whether Arizonans are breaking the law by playing in a fantasy football league.

A post from Valley attorney Garrick A. McFadden at said that “playing fantasy sports in the state of Arizona is a violation of ARS 13-3301.”

McFadden said the law even applied to coworkers and friends who join fantasy football leagues or NCAA March Madness pools.

“All fantasy sports, including the NCAA pool, are illegal according to Arizona,” he said.

Another local attorney, Travis Leach, said, “I think that is true.”

That may not the case, after all.

The Attorney General’s office said its interpretation of the law is that fantasy sports are illegal only if the league is run as a for-profit business and players are charged a fee.

For example, some sports websites have fantasy leagues where a fee must be paid to the website and there is a prize for winners. Those are illegal in Arizona. The fine print on the websites said that players in Arizona aren’t eligible to win.

McFadden said many people don’t read the fine print, and send money, anyway. The website should be required to refund money to participants in Arizona, he said. The Attorney General’s Office said it will look into any complaints about those sites that are filed with its consumer-protection division.

In 2012, McFadden tried to start a drive to have the Arizona Legislature to legalize fantasy sports, even online. He dropped his efforts because of family reasons, but is reconsidering.

“We can at least eliminate a dumb law off of the books in Arizona,” he said.


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