In their current form many considers fantasy sports gambling. What is the difference between sports betting and playing fantasy football for money after all?
As the new NFL season started, fantasy sports games appeared and were advertised in a quantity that was unknown before. Is fantasy sports gambling? It is not decided yet, and operators can capitalize on this blurred status for now. However, a congressional hearing will examine the issue after New Jersey representative Frank Pallone called for it on Monday.
He did that on the first working day after the first weekend of the 2015 NFL regular season. Maybe he was shocked by the amount of fantasy football ads during the games, or maybe he was simply pissed that New Jersey legal sportsbooking wasn’t granted for casinos and racetracks located in the state. But that is true that this is a USD 15 billion business and that betting on player’s performance is quite close to bet on live sports results.
Moreover, if he went through the odds of any legal online sportsbook in the US, he might have noticed that sports betting also covers individual performance. You can bet on touchdown passes, interceptions, completions, rushing and receiving yards etc. Considering this, the answer to the question that is fantasy sports gambling seems even closer to a yes than before.
Best experts of sports and gambling facts might know that the actual playtime during a three-hour long NFL broadcast is no more than 11 minutes. For most of the time you will see players standing around the field between plays. Though for hardcore fans and experts this is the most interesting part of the game in some aspects.
And still, there is an awful lot of time for advertisements. And in the first weekend of the NFL season, most of the spots were advertising fantasy sports products. The biggest of these are DraftKings and FanDuel, who were even approved by PayPal, the overly popular payment service that is also back in the gambling business after a twelve-year long absence.
DraftKings and FanDuel basically split the field between themselves as now each of them have sponsorship deals with 16 out of 32 teams in the NFL. It is interesting that the National Football League is so favorable towards fantasy sports, while it opposes sports betting so vehemently. Maybe the fact that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have stakes in DraftKings might help us to understand the picture better.
The league actually distanced itself from daily fantasy sites for long, but the teams agreed with the operators individually. Fantasy sports are legal since 2006 in all but five federal states in the united states. Legislation provided an exemption for them, since they would have been banned according to gambling laws in the US just like online poker.
However, fantasy football was a season-long game first, and participators picked their players for the whole regular season. The NFL has been running such leagues long, money is not involved, and usually friends play against each other for fun. This service was implemented to engage viewers for games that would be originally uninteresting for them.
But the competition at fantasy football sites goes for large prize pools up to USD 2 million, and participators have to pay an entry fee. There are weekly payouts and the whole concept pretty much resembles to internet gaming. Is fantasy sports gambling then? Some say, yes, definitely, just like Frank Pallone, who initiated the congressional hearing on the matter.
Some see a future with legalized sports betting in the US, with the big daily fantasy sports sites running the show. That is certainly a possibility. However, for the moment, these fantasy operators are driving on the limit. Frankly, they should have an effect on US gambling laws, as some regulations might be needed for this gray area.
They might bring some change in the assessment of online sportsbooks in the US as well. This de facto fantasy sports gambling business, as some say, is not far away from betting on sports at all in its newest form. Actually both kind is in a legislative gray area, and regulations are definitely outdated. It is time to make things clear.