Yes, you may legally bet on daily fantasy sports (“DFS”) in Ohio. Ohio legalized betting on DFS at the end of 2017. For those who don’t know, DFS are a condensed form of the fantasy sports played year-round by thousands of Ohioans. Think of your office fantasy football league, but instead of playing a whole season, you make a team for a day, a weekend, or a week.
There are a variety of formats for DFS including traditional head-to-head competitions, guaranteed prize pools where players are paid out based on where their team ranked in pool, or double-up competitions where players are paid double their entry fee if they finish in the top 50% of participants. A variety of sports are available to wager on in DFS, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey and golf, among others.
Ohio law considers DFS to be a skill game and has rules in place to protect that determination. For instance, operators are not allowed to let players auto-draft their teams or to offer pre-set rosters to choose from. This requires that players rely on skill rather than luck in building their teams and placing their wagers. Ohio also outlaws operators from offering kiosk-based contests.
These DFS rules only apply to those operators who take a portion of a player’s wager in exchange for the right to play. Informal fantasy leagues between friends or office leagues/pools where all money collected is distributed are not affected. This distinction leaves casual players free to skip the draft and let auto-draft decide their team’s fate, but that option probably won’t involve much winning.