‘Fantasy’ Becoming Bigger Headline than Actual Sports
By Amy Lignor
Everyone loves football. Okay…most people love football. However, the game seems to be getting more and more exciting every year as Fantasy Football grips the nation. Although, just as it is with Greg Hardy’s rage, or Tom Brady’s deflated balls, Fantasy Football is also getting knocked upside the head by the law, as well as national debates regarding whether or not Fantasy Football is actually gambling.
Now, for those who actually do question this, gambling is an easy thing to define. It is a game where you put money down and bet on something to win. If you’re wrong, or if the silver ball lands in black instead of red, or if a team you bet on wins or loses, that is gambling. Fantasy Football, of course, is not a “team” that you are betting on. It is a team you created, not an NFL franchise. Therefore, is it still gambling?
When it comes to Fantasy Football the one thing it does involve is an ocean of media sharks. You are talking billions being spent on advertisements that cover companies from Fanduel to Draftkings. Very much like Papa John’s pizza with Peyton Manning smiling all the time, the ads for Fantasy Football cover the airwaves every second of the day.
However, there are now negative headlines being interspersed with all the positive ones for the avid NFL fan. Daily Fantasy has been in the news; one of their employees of the DFS website Draftkings was “alleged” to have used the Draftkings stats – data that is open and available to the entire world – to gain a competitive edge over the competition, Fanduel. Because of this “alleged move” $350,000 was won by the employee using his “inside info” (which is definitely not inside) in one of their huge tournaments. Everyone in the news deemed this as a question of fair play. Is the NFL fair play? Is Las Vegas fair play? Of course not. But if the world continues to sell Fantasy Football as NOT a gambling practice, then fair play will have to come into…well, play.
So we go back to law. Back to the year 2006, when the U.S. Congress decided what was and what wasn’t legal when it came to online gambling. Fantasy sports were excluded from these laws, which automatically means that fantasy football is seen as a game of skill, not chance. Seems to make sense, because the individual has to study and learn stats about players in order to put together their own dream team.
And, as it is with most things – even though Congress decided that was the case, more and more states nationwide are throwing that “assumption” out and throwing Fantasy Football straight into the gambling category. Which brings forth every anti-gambling organization that lobbies consistently for gambling to end. Fantasy Football has become a huge target of these groups now that the states have said, “Oh, yeah, this is gambling.” Let it go, people. This is not Wall Street, this is football.
It is not necessary to describe what Fantasy Football involves. In fact, anyone who wishes to find this data can find it anywhere. In the end, after all the explanations and work, it comes down to a very simple fact: You can only receive money and claim to be a winner if the stats production of the individual players on the team YOU created reach those stats. In other words, you are not betting on a game. You are not betting on the actual outcome. You are betting on specific players that you have brought together to form a team that doesn’t actually exist. You could pick Tom Brady as your QB, but if you have picked the offensive line from all other places, it is not the actual New England Patriots that you will win or lose on. If it were, let’s face it, you’d be raking in the dough thus far. No skill would be necessary.
In that case, if you’re going to be blamed for gambling anyway, go do the real thing. Want some insider information? Patriots will be 8-0 when tomorrow comes to an end. Yes…they will beat those pesky Redskins.