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Sports Leagues Have a Huge Bet on Daily Fantasy

Sports Leagues Have a Huge Bet on Daily Fantasy Bloomberg View


Daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel are coming under fire -- and not just for their barrage of annoying television ads

Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey is requesting that the House Energy and Commerce Committee review the legal status of the sites, which some argue fall in a murky area of sports gambling. Under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, sports betting is prohibited in all states except Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. But in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act created an exception for fantasy sports, defining them not as a game of chance, but a game of skill. The language is short and extremely vague, providing little framework for determining just how, exactly, such "skill" is assessed.

The Internet gambling act's fantasy sports exception, having passed before daily fantasy was a thing, raises big questions when it comes to sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. It attempts to distinguish between fantasy and, say, betting on point spreads by stipulating legal fantasy sports to be "determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results" of athletes, and not based on a single player's performance or the outcome of a single game. Pallone argues that daily fantasy is no different than traditional sports betting, in that fans bet on different lineups each day and can even bet on single events, such as golf tournaments. 

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It's gambling. It's not a game of skill. It's a game of luck. Sheesh.

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