OP-ED: Online Fantasy Sports are another version of Gambling

The real winners of professional sports are not the quarterbacks or the coach or the fans. They may be earning millions at the end of the night, but live in a fantasy if they are to believe they are the ones winning it all. It is exactly that, a fantasy.

Online fantasy sports sites attract thousands of users every day, grasping their attention through partnerships with leagues and competitions. Organizations such as DraftKings or FanDuel have received hundreds of millions of dollars from popular investors like Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

“The more people play,” said Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to Re/code, “the more they consume product on TV.”

With the help of these grand companies, these sites are capable of standing by their idea of providing players with a chance to win big prizes. However, they are the ones winning at the end of the night, allowing for a small percentage to taste the riches, tantalizing their customers likes the casino games on the Las Vegas strip.

A membership on sites like these very from the loose change found in your car or coach seats to hundreds of dollars taken away from your wallets each month. Although there is a guarantee there will be winners, there is no guarantee that you will be one of them.

This is a game of skill not chance. A game of chance heavily depend on luck and is mainly associated with gambling. These sites rely on the simple-minded individual who can easily be fooled and takes their money, only giving back to the “lucky” few. However, this loophole exempts them from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits online gambling.

The only skilled parts of this practice are the talented few (making up around one percent of total users) who either mathematically work the system or the companies who are more skilled than others in legally depriving the public of their money.

“Despite the legal fiction that daily fantasy sports about ‘skills,’ any rational person should know that it’s gambling…I know that even for someone like me, with more fantasy sports experience than most, I’d need a miracle to win big,” said Mark St. Amant, author of “Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie.”

Online fantasy sports games are no longer the games with a single payout at the end of the season. Many sites provide daily offers and cash prizes for their users, frequently drawing them in to a life of risking and obsessing.

These sites appeal to the common gambler – younger adults. As they are first experiencing the freedom and decision making adulthood brings for the first time, they are least likely to have major financial commits. Young adults are the ones spending money at the clubs and at the bars. The younger generation are more tech-savvy and inexperienced then the forty and fifty year olds, who are more mature than their twenty-one year old self.

“There’s no age control, really,” said Neva Pryor, Executive Director for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey. “You can simply open an account in your name, check a box, and put in whatever age you want to put in.”

There is no guaranteed protection from thieves in life. Playing on these sites, the odds are stacked against the player from the beginning. This illogical investment to earn more money are draining ones pockets from all the possibilities that awaited them. The court of law deems its legal, but now the rules have changed, the game has changed.


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