The rise of daily fantasy gambling

Vivek Sharma, Contributing Writer

If you have been watching sports on the television lately, you have probably seen a commercial for Daily Fantasy Sports companies like DraftKings and FanDuel. These sites have attracted millions of customers. However, recently, the legality of these sites has come into question.

Daily Fantasy Sports are pretty simple. You choose a contest and draft your team, putting together the best possible lineup, while staying under your given salary cap. The site keeps track of how your players are doing in their real games, and depending on those outcomes, you receive points. Whoever receives the most points wins the money.

As of September, approximately 57,000,000 people play Daily Fantasy Sports. The games are played for money based on the results of live games, enabling them to possibly be considered as sport betting, which is illegal under federal law. However, there are several people who believe that it is legal due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which clearly “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.” On the other hand, the law purposefully makes an exception for certain fantasy sport sites. If bets on these sites are construed as “skill-based,” they do not qualify as gambling. It is all up to how you view Daily Fantasy Sports: is it up to chance or is there an aspect of skill involved?

FanDuel and DraftKings, which have emerged as the two most popular Daily Fantasy Sports sites, are currently legal in most states. The only states in which these websites are blocked are Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. Most states seem to consider playing on these sites “skill-based.”

To the people who actually participate in Daily Fantasy Sports, it adds something new to their lives. While the thrill of watching football on Sundays is already great, adding money into the equation catapults the excitement of the entire day to a whole new level.

So, the argument can be made that Daily Fantasy Sports may actually improve people’s lives. Some even believe that the legal age of using such sites  should be lowered so that high school students can participate.

Daily Fantasy Sports are controversial, yet the tremendous number of people who play them also makes it difficult to ban. The legality of it all depends on your perspective. Is it skill-based or pure luck? You decide.