Playing Fantasy Football for Money in Iowa is Sticky Legally - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Playing Fantasy Football for Money in Iowa is Sticky Legally

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Fantasy football season is underway, and across the country, millions of sports fans are getting in on the fun.

But your fantasy football playing could actually be breaking the law, depending on where you live. In Iowa, playing for money is technically illegal.

For everyone, whether you're playing with friends or in a public pro league, the pay outs can be big.

But for Iowa residents who play fantasy football, if there's money on the line, they're breaking the law.

It's a fact that surprised a lot of sports fans we talked to in Davenport:

"That doesn't make any sense at all," said Chris Keimig, a Davenport resident who plays fantasy football every year.

Federal law actually allows it. But, technically, high stakes fantasy sports fall under Iowa's definition of illegal gambling.

Iowa is what's called a "chance state" - one of a handful in the country with state laws that prohibit or severely limit paying out winnings of a game if it involves an entry fee or if the outcome relies on an element of chance.

"I think that's surprising in the fact of all the other gambling that goes on," said Jamie Horst, who used to play fantasy football, but doesn't have a team this year.

Whether you agree with the law or not, some fantasy football players going head to head with their friends for money could land in trouble with authorities - if Iowa's law was fully enforced.

They also could face a good amount of trouble collecting their winnings.

It's important to read the fine print, especially when it come to the pro leagues. Some major fantasy sports providers will let Iowa residents play and pay the entry fee, but they won't pay out any winnings to Iowa residents. Their rules say Iowa residents are ineligible for prizes.

"That would be up to what the laws say, but if I'm playing, I should be entitled to my winnings," Horst said.

Still, most fantasy football players we talked to say they're not too worried about Iowa's law:

"Well, you have to arrest me then," Keimig laughed.

He says he still plans to keep a close eye on all the football games this season, and hope the authorities aren't looking too closely at him.

In March, a bill was introduced in the Iowa House to make fantasy sports for money legal, like it is in Illinois and most other states. That bill stalled in committee.