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Fine print points out fantasy-sports participation legalities in Arizona

Some Valley attorneys are at odds with the Attorney General's office over whether Arizonans are breaking the law by playing in a fantasy football league.

A post from Valley attorney Garrick A. McFadden at said that "playing fantasy sports in the state of Arizona is a violation of ARS 13-3301."

McFadden said the law even applied to coworkers and friends who join fantasy football leagues or NCAA March Madness pools.

"All fantasy sports, including the NCAA pool, are illegal according to Arizona," he said.

Another local attorney, Travis Leach, said, "I think that is true."

That may not the case, after all.

The Attorney General's office said its interpretation of the law is that fantasy sports are illegal only if the league is run as a for-profit business and players are charged a fee.

For example, some sports websites have fantasy leagues where a fee must be paid to the website and there is a prize for winners. Those are illegal in Arizona. The fine print on the websites said that players in Arizona aren't eligible to win.

McFadden said many people don't read the fine print, and send money, anyway. The website should be required to refund money to participants in Arizona, he said. The Attorney General's Office said it will look into any complaints about those sites that are filed with its consumer-protection division.

In 2012, McFadden tried to start a drive to have the Arizona Legislature to legalize fantasy sports, even online. He dropped his efforts because of family reasons, but is reconsidering.

"We can at least eliminate a dumb law off of the books in Arizona," he said.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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