Fantasy’s Reality: DraftKings & FanDuel, Their Dominance, and its Legality

The thrill of fantasy sports is extraordinary.  It’s potent, overpowering nature is addicting all season long.  Each Sunday, millions of football fans, young and old, heighten their interest in each game by setting their lineups, going so far as to root for their team’s kickers if not their special teams.  Team “owners” test team loyalty against fantasy team loyalty, and over the years, it has become an ever-present part of football fandom.

However, just imagine all of that season-long excitement compressed into one day.  The thrill is compounded and people are willing to do almost anything to win.  That’s where daily fantasy sports companies can get you and hit you hard.  Normally, you have an early season draft and keep the same team throughout the year with which you can trade and add/drop players to improve week to week.  Companies like FanDuel and DraftKings have found a different route that lends itself well to the everyday fan without the season long commitment of normal fantasy football, especially with an added bonus.  Each week, fans pick a team of players, with a limit on the amount of elite players you can pick in order to balance the playing field.  They then pay a certain fee depending on the total pot they want to win a part of with the success of their team.  As it is probably evident already, this business model has many similarities with something like the Powerball and the rest of the lottery/gambling industry that has historically been highly regulated.  Each of these daily fantasy sports companies’ commercials rave about the large payouts they give out, while behind the scenes, they take advantage of a caveat in laws meant to regulate gambling, calling their game “skill-based” in order to allow for the widespread distribution of fees and prizes.

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The FBI investigation of the business model of FanDuel, founded in 2009, and DraftKings, founded in 2012, will most likely come with a lot of backlash.  The reason these companies can claim such large payouts is because of the millions of players each week.

I spoke with a fellow student who has had his own mixed experience with FanDuel.  The student told me that after making a profit in the first few weeks of the NFL season on the site, he continued to enter weekly contest with his made profits betting on his previous luck.  However, he has since lost more money than he has made, and he feels as though he has been manipulated by the website’s schemes.

This is a story that is all too common in the world of daily fantasy sports.  These sites use overblown incentives to draw unsuspecting sports fans into the fold of their addictive business model, finding a loophole and exploiting it.

Listen, FanDuel and DraftKings, it’s gambling and it’s illegal.  As Sancho Panza says in The Man of La Mancha:  “Whether the rock hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the rock, it’s generally bad for the pitcher.”  

You can act like the American public loves your business model or you’re connecting prospective players with your dubious advertising campaign, but either way, most fans on your site are losing money, and that’s not fantasy, that’s reality.

 

— Porter Bowman, School News Editor

Posted by on October 29, 2015. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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