HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A game of chance or skill?
That's what a judge will have to decide after two Alabamians filed a federal lawsuit against fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel.
Both websites allow players to bet on fantasy sports teams, claiming it involves skill and thus gets around gambling laws.
The lawsuit comes just days before a case in New York aimed at shutting the sites down goes to court.
The Alabama lawsuit highlights a 150-year-old state law that says gambling debts do not have to be enforced because gambling is illegal.
Anyone in Alabama who has lost money to either DraftKings or FanDuel could get that money back.
"Because Alabama has a statute and a constitution that makes gambling in Alabama illegal," said Tommy Spina, an attorney on the case.
A class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday states DraftKings and FanDuel cannot enforce debts to players in Alabama.
"Alabama also has a statute that makes any contract based in gambling unenforceable," Spina said.
The two sites allow players to bet on fantasy NFL and college football teams, as well as hockey, baseball and NASCAR. And it's a multimillion dollar industry.
Both sites brought in more than $30 million in revenue last year alone:
Whether or not the sites can continue operating in Alabama all comes down to one thing:
"It will be whether or not it's a game of chance or whether or not it requires skill," legal analyst Mark McDaniel said. "That's it, that's the entire issue in the case."
Since it is a class-action lawsuit, the outcome will impact anyone who has used either website in Alabama.
"If it's chance then it's gambling and it won't be allowed in Alabama and the contracts will be void and they'd have to give all the money back," McDaniel said. "If it requires skill then it's legitimate and they can keep doing it."
Only time will tell, but our legal analyst predicts this case will go all the way to the Supreme Court.
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