Fantasy football exempt from AL gambling laws

A 2006 law clarified the legality of fantasy sports leagues. (Source: MGN Online)
A 2006 law clarified the legality of fantasy sports leagues. (Source: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - 37 million people are playing fantasy football this season. But could landing that top pick in your fantasy draft also lead to a trip to jail?

By law, fantasy football is gambling, and gambling is illegal in Alabama - however a recent federal law has granted fantasy football an exemption.

Under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act - a law designed to stop online gambling sites - the act clarified all fantasy sports are legal and defined as a skill based proposition, even those where online betting or money is involved.

Alabama's State Supreme Court has also held fantasy football is the same type of gambling as a person who tries to win a stuffed animal playing the crane game at a local grocery store.

Legal analyst Mark McDaniel took a look at that "skill based proposition" definition. We asked if you could make an argument that poker also requires some skill and it too be considered legal under that definition.

"In fantasy football you're actually having to pick your team. You're picking your quarterbacks, you're picking your running backs, you're picking different players and you have to have certain skill to pick those," McDaniel replied. "Gambling is just total luck. You've got odds, but there's not a whole lot of skill to it."

Alabama State Representative Mike Ball was asked if there's any new legislation coming down the pipeline regarding legalizing more gambling.

He said it hasn't come up for four years and he doesn't expect to see it in the upcoming session.

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