Sports fans are wagering thousands of dollars on the performance of professional athletes each day online, and it is all perfectly legal.
Known as daily fantasy sports, the games are part of an exemption to federal law banning online gambling. In daily fantasy sports, winners aren’t determined by the outcome of a single game or the performance of a single player.
Most fantasy competitions — football or baseball — last a season, but more and more players are looking for their daily fantasy fix. Critics argue that turning fantasy sports into a daily competition edges it closer to being a game of chance that’s essentially equivalent to placing a bet at race and sports books in Las Vegas.
“I’m not going to give a legal opinion,” John Kindt, an emeritus professor of business and legal policy at the University of Illinois, said Thursday. “But what I would say is that this was not the intent of Congress when it prohibited online gambling.”
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 regulated online gambling by prohibiting gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with a wager. The law excluded fantasy sports and legal intrastate and inter-tribal gaming.
Loophole bets allow state to circumvent PASPA while awaiting court ruling
With its plans to legalize sports gambling held up in federal court, New Jersey is allowing casinos to offer daily fantasy games as an alternative.
The states Division of Gaming Enforcement has published regulations establishing standards for casinos to offer fantasy sports tournaments starting April 22. The casinos can charge patrons an entry fee and pay out winnings through the casino cage, but the activity is not considered gambling.
Fantasy sports tournaments are contests in which participants create and manage teams, made up of individual players from real teams, which compete against other fantasy teams based on statistics that players generate during real games.
It’s too early to tell how these fantasy games will affect sports book operators in Las Vegas.
“I’ve read the regulations and need to digest them to see what the opportunities look like,” said Joe Asher, CEO of Las Vegas-based William Hill U.S., which operates 160 sports books and kiosks statewide and is the risk manager for the Delaware lotterys parlay bets on National Football League games. “But obviously its a step in the right direction.”
@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin
From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of March 18th …
3 STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK
#1. The Revolution Network is dealing with two unresolved stories – one regarding lengthy payment delays to a skin and one regarding a possible software bug related to hole cards – as the Lock-fronted network continues to lose ground.
#2. Empire (State) Poker: NY’s tentative step toward regulated online gambling will thrive or die between now and April 1st, the deadline for the state’s budget. Gov. Cuomo seems open to the idea, but we should get a good sense of what support the initiative actually has in the days ahead.
#3. IL and PA. This week could pass with no movement in PA, where a few soft deadlines for the introduction of an online gambling bill have come and gone. But the pressure for legislative progress on the larger issue of casino expansion is significant in IL and should result in a quicker timetable for online poker – one way or the other.
+ THE WEEK THAT WAS
RECENTLY FROM OPR
A quick FAQ on Full Tilt repayment. And Marco Valerio’s interview with Salim Adatia, CEO of GLI Interactive – the company behind software testing in Nevada. Plus an update to my Illinois FAQ to reflect last week’s changes to the bill’s “bad actor” clause.
#GoodRead – The New York Times has a good write up of the uncertain environment surrounding daily fantasy sports. Much of it should sound familiar to followers of online poker.
@Follow – @Pokeraddictnet. Often first to news on U.S. facing rooms + regulatory developments at the state level.
Some fear shoddy marketing will eff it up for skill-game players
It’s a question that most attendees of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Winter Conference in Las Vegas didn’t want to answer: Are some fantasy websites walking a thin line between gambling and fantasy sports when it comes to marketing their websites?
The question pertains to a new and profitable trend of daily betting sites such as Cantor Fantasy, Fan Duel, Fan Ball and Draft Day that process millions of dollars in transactions between players who organize and bet on new lineups.
“We support daily game companies,” Paul Charchian, president of the Minneapolis-based FSTA, told about 200 conference attendees Tuesday at The Mirage. “By far, daily games are the fastest growing part of our business. Don’t (mess) it up.”
Charchian said he was concerned that some daily sites are marketing themselves like offshore sports books did before the federal crackdown in 2006. He urged them to be “much more conscious about creating consumer confusion.”
Cantor Gaming sees profits in "not gambling" industry
The number of Americans playing fantasy sports has grown by 2 million annually for the past two decades, transforming what was once the pastime of a few devoted baseball fans into a lucrative business, generating more than $3 billion annually in total revenues, according to an industry analyst.
“We’re very comfortable these days,” said Paul Charchian, president of the Minneapolis-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which will hold its annual convention this month at The Mirage. “We’ve been growing at a ridiculous rate. Some day we won’t be growing by 2 million annually and I’m sure there’ll be stories asking us why we’re not growing by 2 million anymore.”
Fantasy sports were born in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s that it developed into a national sensation.
“We have grown by 2 million people a year since the Internet took off in the mid-1990s,” Charchian said.
I honestly believe that 10 years from now, online gambling will be what saves newspaper journalism in America. Check it out …
Newspaper gambles on online gambling | Media Maverick – CNET News
Philadelphia Inquirer claims to be country’s first newspaper to venture into sports betting. Read this blog post by Greg Sandoval on Media Maverick.
So Philly.com is the pioneer, banking (finally?) on the UIGEA carveout for fantasy sports to offer real-money gambling. (Holy shit, like you actually get to use Paypal to fund your account!) Limits are small — right now the most you can lose in a day is $50, and the most you can win is $90 — and it’s not heavily promoted elsewhere on the site. Philly.com, the web home for both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, has partnered with British company FanDuel.com to run their games.
How this pertains to poker is it gives a teensy glimpse of what the landscape could look like down the road. It might not be about PokerStars sending players to the WSOP, but rather the Des Moines Register hosting satellites. (And this could work within an intrastate framework, too!)
Editor & Publisher seems at least open to the possibility. At a minimum, poker stands to benefit from anything that has so many mainstream media big-wigs finally taking a closer look at the UIGEA.
ALT HED: PulitzerPoker.com?
Ahh, it seems like only
yesterday 25 years ago that the Dallas Mavericks had to choose between Sam Perkins and Charles Barkley … (Hakeem Olajuwan, Sam Bowie, and Michael Jordan had all gone before them.)
This year I’ll be taking part in ESPN’s fantasy WSOP draft … so with that, I’ve got to pick some players, preferably those who will perform. Personally, I’ve got my eye on a Dallas girl named Sara Chau to surprise a lot of people … but since she will likely only be playing a few events (unless, of course, she makes a big score early), she wouldn’t be a great pick. At the same time, you know me … I’m not gonna go with the traditionals — Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, et al (though I do think Erick Lindgren would be a fine pick) — and I’d probably be too embarrassed to reveal my fanboy leanings for Clonie Gowen, Tom Schneider, and Gregg Merkow. Plus, really, no offense to those three, but they just don’t give me proper odds, ya know?
Anyhow, please share with me any thoughts or suggestions about players who seem to be on their game and ready to tear it up in the 2009 WSOP.
BTW, does anyone remember who the Mavs took with their second first-round pick in 1984? Terence Stansbury. (Highlight the white space for the answer.)
I caught a glimpse of the economic crunch on the streets of Las Vegas. Construction projects halted. Rusted steel beams shot out of concrete blocks on unfinished architectural superstructures. The vertical ghost towns cluttered the Las Vegas skyline. The illumination of Sin City, once glorious and majestic as the morning light at the dawn of the new day, has been dulled by a morass of financial gloom, so much so that even the languorous hookers were bitching. Shit, everyone was bitching. Cocktail waitresses. Poker dealers. Cab drivers. Valets. And even the crackling snaps of pamphlets from the porn slappers seem a little sullen these days.
— Tao of Poker
You know what, fuck this “Pauly’s the Hunter Thompson of Poker” shit. Woo-woo, I’m a tortured writer who does lots of drugs to share my twisted vision of the world with the world [/whine] … all so you’ll play $10 tournaments on PokerStars … Saturday’s with Dr. Pauly! — and then we can bet more on FantasySportsLive! [/excitement] It’s seems to me like a pathetic cover for life as a (balding) professional shill.
OK, maybe I’m just bitter — because one of my best pals called me a “cooler”. Do you realize how damaging that can be to a guy who scratches out his living as
“The Ernest Hemingway of Gambling” a casino hanger-on? Granted, it really did happen for like 6 hands in a row that whomever I stood behind was guaranteed to lose at pai gow — and when I courteously left to play craps for the first time in two years, not only did I blow $93 in about 7 minutes, but also I literally killed the table … messed up a “hot roller” by improperly placing a bet and impeding a flying die with my hand … re-roll … and from there it was craps, craps, craps — seven out — until all the other players left the table rolling their eyes in gambler’s disgust. Ha-ha, luck is funny.
But all is not fun and games here in Vegas these days — in America, really; but the morale-shift seems accentuated in Sin City, where just about every hooker has lost at least one home in the desert suburbs to foreclosure. So it’s not all about me, but I get to be the Set-up Guy (nice) … and it’s definitely not all about poker: DPauly just happens to be journaling life on a road speckled with tables, where he sees the American lives in the face of severe economic downturn — the human condition amid stormy weather — as revealed ever clearly through the teats and mouths of an aggressive pack of 3rd Millineium Mary Magdalenes.
An especially worthwhile two-part read this week on Tao of Poker.
And, of course, though not as good (my appearance didn’t make the cut), you can get the audiobook version here.
Before we make 2008 The Year of Bitching about Tom’s Lack of Coverage (Again) — because really, if it weren’t for that, what would Angry Julie have to scream about? — I do want to point out that ESPN Correspondo Gary Wise did pick the Donkey Bomber to be on his WSOP fantasy team. Looks like he was a 5th-rounder.
One of the most significant cases in forthcoming poker legal fights may be one that has (almost) nothing to do with poker.
A Colorado lawyer has filed a lawsuit (in New Jersey) claiming fantasy football, with any money attached to it, is illegal gambling. The targets of his lawsuit: ESPN, CBS, and The Sporting News. This case brings so many interesting thingies to the fore.
First, the crux of the argument is that fantasy sports is a game of chance, not a game of skill. Wow. But this is AWESOME for poker. Why not let the fantasy sports population — which, perhaps surprisingly, outnumber poker players — do the dirty work on the all-important skill vs. chance issue?
Remember, the legislative masses still hardly understand our poker issues — whether they be regarding charity tournaments in a state (like Texas) or the right to play for money online anywhere in the United States. So we should be happy anytime a potentially bad legal precedent that affects a few million more family-friendly law-abiding citizens comes to light. Again, that is assuming we are on the right side.