As recently as 2019, the Texas House voted in favor of explicitly legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Anyone can now play Texas DFS with total confidence without any confusion surrounding legality.
Prior to this, it was up for debate whether or not DFS was considered gambling, which is against Texas law. But with the House determining that it’s a pay-to-play game of skill, the vote all but settles the confusion. And it seems to be at low risk of being overturned.
But many DFS fans have been playing in Texas for years. In fact, this state is one of the industry’s biggest markets based on their love of sports and sheer population.
The Best Daily Fantasy Sports Sites In Texas
|DFS Site||Bonus Offer||Estimated Yearly Revenue|
|DraftKings||20% deposit match up to $500||$226.3 million|
|FanDuel||$5 first-deposit bonus||$106.1 million|
|Yahoo!||First deposit includes 1,000 Rewards Points||$5 million|
|FantasyDraft||$100 free rake per month with no subscription fee||$3 million|
When the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) violates the state’s anti-gambling laws, FanDuel left the state. But DraftKings decided to challenge the opinion in court and continued to offer DFS to everyone in the state.
Thanks largely to DraftKings’ efforts, DFS is all but legalized as of 2019, and FanDuel began accepting Texans again in 2018. So, if you found it tough to choose between the two major DFS options, you might want to lean toward DraftKings out of principle.
Beyond that, they have an enormous selection of DFS contests going on every day, just like FanDuel. But unlike their biggest competitor, they offer “The Tiers” contests. The Tiers contest is a consolidated form of DFS where you select one of three players from each tier, no salary cap.
Another unique aspect is the late swaps feature, which FanDuel offers here and there but is much more prominent at DraftKings. Late swaps allow you to replace players in your lineup after the games begin but before that player hits the field or court.
And if you want to play WNBA DFS, DraftKings is your only option, as they hold an exclusive contract with the league.
The DraftKings DFS welcome bonus matches your first deposit by 20% up to $500. That means if you deposit $100, you’ll receive an extra $20 to play with. If you plan on playing for the long-term, this is a better bonus than FanDuel.
However, FanDuel DFS offers some exclusive features of its own.
FanDuel DFS In Texas
FanDuel fell off the map in 2016, but they returned in 2018. Their absence likely hurt their bottom line more than anything else. So, if you’re willing to not hold it against them, there are plenty of reasons to choose them over DraftKings.
FanDuel also has a partner site with the DRAFT DFS service, which means you can log in to both using the same account. Both are worth looking into. But the close connection between FanDuel and DRAFT pushes us to recommend them as a package deal.
While DraftKings offers “The Tiers,” FanDuel has an exclusive gameplay alternative of their own in the form of Mini Contests. Rather than selecting a full roster, Mini Contests invite you to play a smaller number of players within a lower salary cap.
They also offer a “Beat the Score” contest which means winning without needing to beat other players. Instead of the top player winning, everyone who “beats the score” set by FanDuel gets a predetermined payout.
Further, FanDuel DFS has exclusive contracts with several more leagues than DraftKings. While they don’t offer WNBA DFS, they do offer Euroleague basketball and the Canadian Football League. But most notably, FanDuel DFS is the only one of the two where you can play UEFA Champions League Soccer and the PGA European Tour. For soccer or golf fans, respectively, there’s really no choice but to go with FanDuel.
At the end of the day, DraftKings and FanDuel are pretty much identical. But they do differentiate themselves sufficiently to win over Texas sports fans with specific interests.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel In Texas
|Bonus Offer||20% deposit bonus up to $500||$5 bonus with first deposit|
|Exclusive Contests||The Tiers||Beat the Score|
|Popular Alternative Gameplays||Late Swaps (switching players after game began)||Mini Contests|
|Exclusive League Offerings||WNBA||Euroleague basketball, CFL, Champions League Soccer, PGA European Tour|
|League Partnerships||NFL, MLB||NHL, NBA|
|High-Roller Benefits||Contests with the higher stakes have the lowest rakes||The most experienced players receive exclusive access to some high-paying contests|
Other Texas DFS Sites
Yahoo! and Fantasy Drafts are two other options for DFS in Texas. While their popularity doesn’t come close to comparing to DraftKings or FanDuel, they have comparable setups and much less intense competition. Even the most experienced players will join these sites to win some of the easier contests.
It also may be worth joining these sites just for the bonus offers. It’s always recommended to play as many different DFS sites as possible to see which one you like the most. But since the gameplay is so similar across the board, the free money is enticing in and of itself.
See our full Guide To Daily Fantasy Sports In The US.
What About Monkey Knife Fight or PrizePicks In Texas?
Monkey Knife Fight and PrizePicks are both available in Texas. However, these sites have you choosing over/under on player performance and are not DFS sites in the more traditional salary cap sense. Still, they could be worth looking into for a more casual and approachable DFS-style option.
Alternative to DFS
If you are a Texas resident who enjoys traditional sports betting, the wait for legalization can be long and painful. However, you can still enjoy sports betting in Texas and potentially redeem it for cash prizes using Fliff Sports Betting.
Fliff is legal in Texas because you can play for free. Also, you don’t technically play with real money; you play with fake currency that you can then redeem for cash prizes.
Fliff offers totals, moneylines, points spreads, and more. You can play against friends or in larger tournaments.
Is DFS Explicitly Legal In Texas?
No. DFS is not explicitly legal or illegal in Texas.
While the Texas AG released a nonbinding opinion in 2016 that DFS violates Texas law, that opinion has been recently superseded by the Texas House voting that DFS is legal by a wide margin of 116 to 27.
The good news is that the foreseeable future will have legal Texas DFS. The bad news is that DFS can be allowed in your state one minute and blocked the next. However, that’s largely up to the DFS platform. And since Texas is one of the most lucrative economic markets in the country, it’s unlikely to ever leave the state. This is a great option for Texans considering the state is more strict about online sports betting and online casinos.
See our full Guide To Online Gambling In Texas.
Who Regulates DFS In Texas?
Texas has extremely strict laws when it comes to gambling. And the Office of the Attorney General still maintains that playing Daily Fantasy Sports is illegal.
AG Ken Paxton even states explicitly that, “Participants in traditional fantasy sports leagues may avail themselves of a statutory defense to prosecution under Penal Code subsection 47.02.”
What that roughly translates to is that the state could pursue legal action against you if they really wanted to. But no law has been passed that expressly outlaws DFS, and no Texan has ever been charged with a crime for playing it.
If they really did end up enforcing it, you can safely bet that they’ll go after the operators, not the players. It’d be a lot more feasible than going after thousands of Texans, then trying to prove that it’s gambling in court.
What Are The Best Bonus Offers And Free DFS Contests In Texas?
Both FanDuel and DraftKings offer great bonuses that come with pretty reasonable terms and conditions. Their competitors also offer potentially lucrative promotions as well, and they’re often better to compete with the big dogs. Here’s a look at the different offerings:
A common offer is free money just for creating an account. This will normally be between $5 and $30, and can be used to enter the different DFS contests on offer.
Terms & Conditions: You’ll likely need to make a real-money deposit before you can collect any winnings earned from signup bonus money. At the very least, you’ll need to bet the bonus amount a set number of times, which can be 30x or more.
You’ll almost always find a deposit bonus at every DFS site. The standard is the deposit-matching bonus, where the operator will add a percentage of your deposit to your bankroll.
Terms & Conditions: In DFS, the deposit bonus is usually rewarded on an ongoing basis rather than instantly. At DraftKings, you receive a dollar of the bonus money for every $25 you play with. The good news is that the free money is credited to your account and cleared for withdrawal.
Fun Play DFS Contests
DraftKings and FanDuel allow you and your friends to play private DFS games on their platform for free with no cash prizes.
Free DFS Contests With Cash Prizes
You can cash in rewards points or take advantage of a sponsored competition to enter real-money DFS contests for free. The most obvious example is a March Madness bracket challenge that you can enter for free for the chance to win hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What Are The Top Contests For DFS Players In Texas?
The more people join DFS platforms, the larger the prize pools will become. But for now, they’re still massive, with the all-time biggest payout being $1.2 million. Here’s a breakdown of the top five biggest contests:
|DFS||Contest||Entry||Prize Pool||Top Prize||Places Paid|
|DraftKings||Weekly Millionaire Maker||$20||$7 million||$1.2 million||83,000|
|FanDuel||NFL Sunday Million||$25||$6 million||$1 million||55,300|
|FanDuel||Sunday NFL Rush||$5||$2 million||$150,000||90,800|
|DraftKings||Weekly Play Action Content||$3||$1.15 million||$100,000||122,290|
|DraftKings||NFL Blitz Fantasy Contest||$300||$1 million||$150,000||740|
FanDuel and DraftKings Have The Biggest Payouts In Texas
They say that everything’s bigger in Texas. The highest possible payouts are at the two major DFS services: DraftKings and FanDuel.
However, the odds of winning top prizes are extremely low. While the large prize pools still play out up to 100,000+ people, even those lower places come with steep competition. For brand-new players, smaller contests offer the highest chances for consistent winning.
In fact, it could be argued that part of the skill of DFS is choosing the contests wisely.
Texas Daily Fantasy Sports FAQ
Yes. The age requirement for playing DFS in Texas is 18 and up.
If you’re under the age of 18, wait to play until you’re an adult. The site is likely to ask for identifying details before you receive your winnings, and you’ll be blocked from the site if you’re underage.
$1.2 million. The highest guaranteed prize for a DFS contest in Texas comes from DraftKings during the NFL season. The Weekly Millionaire Maker pays out the top 83,000 participants, and the number one spot is awarded $1.2 million.
However, several players tying for the highest score can mean that the top prize is split among all number one spots. But single winners have happened.
Yes. If you have net winnings over the course of the year (won more than you lost), the IRS expects you to report it. The DFS site itself will issue a Form 1099 if your net winnings exceed $600, but you’re technically required to pay no matter what.
While you won’t need to pay anything to the State of Texas, you will have to pay the Federal government. Whether you do or not is up to you, but not paying income tax can lead to legal repercussions.
Yes. While FanDuel DFS left the state in 2016 after the Attorney General’s office released an opinion that DFS is gambling, it returned in 2018 and is currently available. Meanwhile, DraftKings has been available in Texas since its 2012 release date.
Yes. One of the benefits of not explicitly having DFS on the books in Texas is a lack of specific regulations.
In some states, DFS for college sports is blocked. In others, in-state college sports are blocked. But in Texas, you can play any form of DFS that DraftKings, FanDuel, or any other platform offers.
Yes. Like college sports, you can play DFS for esports in Texas.
Interestingly, esports is traditionally blocked from traditional sportsbooks in America because many of the teams have underage players. But because DFS isn’t considered gambling like sportsbooks, many DFS sites offer esports contests.