05.12.2015

Fantasy sports: gambling or not?

Fantasy sports: gambling or not?

Commissioners from National basketball association, National football league and Major League Baseball believe that daily fantasy sports cannot be treated as gambling, although the market needs to be regulated. It contradicts with the statement made by the head of DraftKings Jason Robins three years ago, when he said that fantasy sports has a lot of common with gambling. 

Major League Baseball representative Rob Manfred, National football league commissioner Roger Goodell and National basketball association representative Adam Silver spoke in support of evolving market of fantasy sports in the course of three interviews during American sports show Mike&Mike on ESPN Radio.

‘I don’t consider fantasy sports to be gambling,’ said Manfred. Goodell, in his turn, stated that he is against legalization of sports betting as it can compromise sport, but at the same time he doesn’t find playing fantasy sports to be something bad.

 ‘We think that daily fantasy sports is not gambling as far as in practice it’s a competition between players,’ said Goodell. ‘You cannot influence the outcome of a game.’

New regulations are needed

Poker fans argue that if fantasy sport isn’t considered to be gambling only because of the fact that the outcome of a game entirely depends on the skills of the player, it means that the same is true for card games. Unlike the majority of similar games, poker and fantasy sport players try to outmaneuver their rivals. However, for some unknown reasons, from the point of view of poker fans, their favorite game is made equal to gambling, what cannot be said about daily fantasy sports.

But everyone agrees on one point: whether fantasy sports fans need special skills and luck or not, this market definitely needs new regulations. Manfred explains that general public is interested in one thing – whether fantasy sports operators can guarantee the fairness of the game and that fans of this kind of entertainment are not cheated.

Adam Silver agreed on that:

‘I think that we really need new regulations. People should be aware of amounts of money other players win.’

Investigation of attorney from New York State

Many large sports leagues support fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel, so it’s clear that they stand for regulation of daily fantasy sports market, and not for its prohibition. Nevertheless, the main attorney of New York State Eric Shneiderman has expressed the following point of view.

‘DraftKings and FanDuel do not come under any regulations,’ he said in an interview to CBS on the 8th of October. ‘The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 does not have any influence on them.’

Fantasy sports Trade Association is going to implement the first innovations in regulation of this market. Its members claimed that soon they will create a special organization for monitoring fantasy sports that will allow making “strict, transparent and effective” regulations. However Shneiderman does not believe that their plan will be successful.

‘In the end the state will be in charge of regulating this industry. It has not happened till now just because fantasy sports market did not exist at the time when The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was adopted,’ he ended. 

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