Idahoans blocked from using paid fantasy sports sites

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is the most recent state to block fantasy sports fans from betting on sports contests through two multibillion dollar paid fantasy companies.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Monday that two companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, have agreed to stop providing the service to Idaho residents.

Wasden said in a news release that the online sport contest, where fans bet on players' performances, is considered illegal gambling in Idaho. The Idaho Constitution bans gambling except for the state lottery, pari-mutuel betting as well as bingo and raffle games.

"My concern is that the daily fantasy sports offerings my office reviewed require participants to risk money for a cash prize contingent upon individual athletes' collective performances in various future sporting events," Wasden said. "As I see it, this falls within Idaho's definition of gambling."

Wasden said he began investigating DraftKings and FanDuel in January. After a three-month-long negotiation, the companies agreed to block online Idaho contestants from participating starting this month.

The companies will be able to block consumers in Idaho through geo-blocking technology or IP addresses. However, they will allow users to withdraw their account balances.

The attorney general's decision comes amid a national controversy over whether the online activity is entertainment or gambling. Both companies argue the fantasy sport is skill-based and not determined by chance.

Attorneys general in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Kansas have ruled the practice legal, while 12 others call it illegal gambling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Three states have legalized daily fantasy sports through statute, according to the organization, while lawmakers in 35 states are weighing the policy this year.

Idaho's agreement with DraftKings and FanDuel allows the companies to resume operating in the state if the Legislature changes the state's strict gambling law or if a judge overturns the statute.

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