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Daily fantasy sports in Texas

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Texas remains a popular yet complex activity, as state legislation continues to evolve around the legality and regulation of these online sports competitions.

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Yes, Daily Fantasy Sports are considered legal in Texas, but the legal landscape has been somewhat ambiguous and subject to differing interpretations. The main contention revolves around whether DFS contests are games of skill or games of chance. Texas law prohibits betting on games of chance but does not explicitly outlaw games of skill, which is how DFS platforms classify their contests.

In 2016, the Texas Attorney General issued an opinion suggesting that DFS constitutes illegal gambling under state law. However, this opinion did not result in any immediate legal action against DFS operators. Major DFS providers like DraftKings and FanDuel have continued to operate in Texas under the argument that their contests are games of skill.

Legislative efforts have been made to formally legalize and regulate DFS in Texas, but as of now, no specific legislation has been passed. Despite the lack of clear regulatory framework, DFS remains widely accessible to Texas residents, with no active enforcement against players or operators. While there is legal ambiguity, DFS continues to operate in a gray area, with substantial participation from Texas residents.

Best DFS betting sites in Texas

Texas hosts a variety of popular Daily Fantasy Sports betting sites, offering diverse gaming options and competitive platforms for enthusiasts to enjoy their fantasy sports experiences.

DraftKings Texas


One of the largest DFS providers in the U.S., DraftKings offers a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB, and more. The site is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive contest varieties, from large tournaments to private leagues. DraftKings also features innovative tools like lineup optimizers and performance trackers, enhancing the overall fantasy sports experience

FanDuel Texas


FanDuel is another leading DFS platform that stands out with its clear, intuitive layout and focus on enhancing user experience. It offers a variety of contest formats, including head-to-head matchups, tournaments, and beat-the-score challenges. FanDuel is particularly popular for its NFL and NBA fantasy leagues, providing detailed statistics and real-time scoring updates.

Yahoo Fantasy

Yahoo Fantasy Sports

Yahoo offers a robust DFS experience with a strong emphasis on community and beginner-friendly options. Its platform integrates seamlessly with Yahoo Sports, providing in-depth analysis and news to help players make informed decisions. Yahoo Fantasy Sports also features a unique rewards system, allowing players to earn points and unlock achievements as they participate.

Getting started with Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas

Getting started with Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas is straightforward and accessible, making it easy for players to dive into the action and compete with others in a variety of sports.

  1. Choose a DFS Platform: Begin by selecting a DFS site that suits your interests and needs. Popular platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo Fantasy Sports offer different user experiences, game types, and sports options. Consider the features, user interface, and available sports when making your choice.
  2. Create an Account: Once you've chosen a platform, sign up by providing necessary information such as your name, email, and date of birth. You'll also need to create a username and password. Some sites may require additional verification to comply with state regulations, ensuring that all players are of legal age.
  3. Deposit Funds: After your account is set up, you'll need to deposit funds to start playing. Most DFS platforms offer a variety of deposit methods, including credit cards, PayPal, and bank transfers. Choose a payment method that is convenient and secure for you.
  4. Join a Contest: Explore the available contests on the platform. These can range from free-entry games to tournaments with significant cash prizes. Each contest will have different rules and entry fees, so choose one that matches your comfort level and interest.
  5. Draft Your Team: Depending on the sport and contest type, you’ll draft a lineup of players while staying within a salary cap. Use your knowledge of the sport and player performance to make strategic choices that could give you an edge over the competition.
  6. Monitor and Adjust: Once your team is set, monitor their performance during the actual games. Most platforms allow you to make adjustments to your lineup until the games begin. Stay informed about player injuries and other factors that might impact your strategy.

What types of DFS leagues can I bet on in Texas?

In Texas, Daily Fantasy Sports users have the opportunity to engage in a variety of leagues, each offering unique challenges and ways to compete. From major sports leagues to niche markets, there's something for every type of sports fan.

  • NFL: The NFL is the most popular choice for DFS, with contests revolving around weekly matchups. Players draft teams consisting of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, a defense, and sometimes individual defensive players, managing rosters within a given salary cap. Performance is based on actual game statistics, with points accumulating through touchdowns, yards gained, and more.
  • NBA: NBA DFS is dynamic due to the frequent games and high scoring nature of basketball. Participants select players across multiple positions like guards, forwards, and centers. Points in DFS are scored through various statistics such as points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks. The fast-paced nature of the sport requires keeping up with player injuries and game-time decisions which can drastically affect outcomes.
  • MLB: Baseball in DFS focuses on selecting pitchers and hitters, with scoring tied to pitching performances (strikeouts, innings pitched, wins) and hitting achievements (home runs, RBIs, steals). The strategy involves careful consideration of matchups, park factors, and the platoon advantages of hitters against opposing pitchers.
  • NHL: Hockey DFS involves picking lineups including forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. Scoring can come from goals, assists, shots on goal, and goalie stats like saves and shutouts. Understanding line combinations and power-play units is crucial to success in NHL DFS.
  • PGA: PGA DFS is unique as it spans multiple days and involves selecting a roster of golfers who accumulate points through birdies, eagles, and overall placement in the tournament. Players must consider course history, current form, and weather conditions when choosing their golfers.
  • NASCAR: In NASCAR DFS, players select drivers who score points based on race finish, laps led, and overall speed. Strategies involve understanding track types, driver histories on specific tracks, and the nuances of car setups.

Advice for playing Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas

Playing Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas can be exciting and rewarding with the right strategies. Here are several tips to help you navigate the landscape effectively and increase your chances of success.

  • Understand the Scoring System: Each DFS platform has its own scoring rules. Familiarize yourself with how points are awarded for the sports you're interested in. This knowledge is crucial for building effective teams, as certain players may be more valuable in one scoring system than another.
  • Research Player Matchups: Analyze the matchups of the players you consider drafting. Factors like opponent weaknesses, game location, and recent player form can significantly impact performance. Successful DFS players spend time studying these elements before finalizing their lineups.
  • Utilize Bankroll Management: Allocate your funds wisely. A common strategy is to only risk a small percentage of your bankroll on any given contest to avoid rapid losses. Diversifying your contest types can also help manage risk and increase potential returns.
  • Monitor Weather and Injuries: For outdoor sports, weather conditions can influence game outcomes and player performances. Likewise, keep tabs on player injuries and last-minute lineup changes, as these can dramatically shift the dynamics of your DFS lineup.
  • Participate in Training Contests: If you’re new to DFS, start with lower-stakes or even free contests to understand the game without risking much money. These training grounds are invaluable for testing strategies and building confidence.
  • Stay Updated with Player News: Subscribe to sports news updates or follow relevant sports social media to get real-time information about player conditions, team strategies, and other vital news. This can give you an edge over competitors who may not be as well-informed.

Timeline of Daily Fantasy Sports legislation in Texas

The legislative journey of Daily Fantasy Sports in Texas has seen several significant events:

  • 2016: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion stating that DFS constitutes illegal gambling under state law. This opinion was based on the view that DFS involves elements of chance, which would classify it as gambling.
  • 2017-2018: Efforts to clarify the legality of DFS in Texas Legislature surfaced but did not result in any definitive action. Bills were introduced to formally legalize and regulate DFS, but none passed.
  • 2019: A renewed push to legislate DFS emerged, with proposed bills aiming to establish a framework for legalizing DFS by defining it as a game of skill rather than gambling. However, these efforts again stalled in the legislative process.
  • 2021-Present: DFS continues to operate in a legal gray area in Texas, with major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel conducting business under the rationale that their games are skill-based. Legislative efforts remain ongoing, with the potential for future bills to finally resolve the legal ambiguity surrounding DFS in the state.


What is the difference between DFS and Texas sports betting?

The primary difference between Daily Fantasy Sports and traditional sports betting in Texas is that DFS is considered a game of skill, where participants create fantasy teams and compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games. In contrast, traditional sports betting involves wagering on the outcomes of real sporting events directly, and is currently illegal in Texas. DFS operates in a legal gray area and is accessible to Texans, whereas sports betting is not permitted under state law.

Do you have to pay taxes on Daily Fantasy Sports winnings in TX?

Yes, you must pay taxes on Daily Fantasy Sports winnings in Texas, as well as in the rest of the United States. All winnings from DFS are considered taxable income by the IRS. It's important to keep detailed records of your winnings and losses to accurately report them on your tax returns.

When was DFS legalized in Texas?

Daily Fantasy Sports has not been formally legalized in Texas through specific legislation. However, despite the legal ambiguity, DFS sites have been operating openly in Texas for over a decade without significant legal challenges. In this context, it is reasonable to consider DFS effectively legal in Texas, although formal regulation and explicit legal recognition have not yet been established by lawmakers.