Fantasy Sports – how to get nothing for something

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In case you do not understand the concept of fantasy sports it has been around for over half a century. According to the University of Cincinnati Law Review, “Fantasy sports, in general, are communities – almost exclusively online today – where users create mock teams assembled from the players found in real-life professional sports leagues. Traditional fantasy leagues are season-long and players are held on a team to the exclusion of the other teams in that user’s league.

“The individual players earn points based upon their individual performance in real life games. The individual player’s performance scores are then added up to create a team score and the team with the highest score wins the competition.

“Daily fantasy sports are a more recent variation on this old idea. The DFS participants are allowed to select among an array of competitions in which they may engage. There are three common types of contests in DFS: head-to-head, double-ups, and guaranteed prize pools. Participants select individual professional athletes in a sport to form a team. Salary caps exist to prevent a total stacking of teams.

“Unlike traditional fantasy sports, DFS have drafts that are usually independent of other competitors. This means that an individual athlete could appear on multiple teams in a DFS competition, which is different than most traditional fantasy sports leagues.

“At the end of the contest, if you are a winner then you are awarded a payout based upon the wager made and the type of contest in which you participated. And if you are a loser, then you lose your wager and are awarded nothing.”

Luck vs. skill

Should daily fantasy sports be legalized in Georgia? That seems to be the issue with certain legislative kingpins down at the Gold Dome. It is a significant matter, because The Washington Post has identified fantasy sports as a multi-billion dollar industry.

Then The Post reported, “But there’s a rub: An estimated 57 million Americans are putting money down in fantasy sports leagues based on real-life games even though sports betting is illegal in most states. (And much like poker, the odds are against amateur players actually winning big like the commercials portray.)”

Some of Georgia’s lawmakers claim they are free to pass daily fantasy sports legislation because of a 2006 law that made an exception for skill-based bets. But is DFS a skill-based venture?

Last year two lawyers from the office of Attorney General Samuel S. Olens wrote in a four-page letter, “Daily fantasy sports games are not authorized under Georgia law. The letter was in response to a letter from the Georgia Lottery to top executives at FanDuel and DraftKings to ‘inquire about the legal authority for FanDuel and DraftKings to independently operate fantasy sports games within the state of Georgia.’”

However, Georgia Representative Trey Kelley wants Georgia to regulate, license, and tax fantasy sports operators. He sees the revenue potential House Bill 118 could have on the Peach State. He insists DFS is a game of skill and should be recognized as such.

Kelley has been quoted as saying, “I have serious reservations about pure gambling in our state, but games of skill are already allowed. Golf tournaments, bass fishing tournaments, skeet shoots. We already allow those. I just see this as the proper classification.”

An incubator for addiction

What Kelley wants to do is legalize something that is obviously illegal. And it doesn’t take someone with extraordinary brainpower to see fantasy sports is not a game of skill, but a game of chance. It is gambling! You can safely “bet” that FanDuel and DraftKings have carefully calculated the chances of a participant winning and losing and concluded the odds are stacked against participants and in favor of the purveyors of daily fantasy sports.

Like all forms of gambling, daily fantasy sports is addictive. Spencer Bacchus, former U.S. Representative for the state of Alabama and chair of the House Financial Services committee, stated, “In fact, a University of Connecticut study showed that as many as three in four pre-teens and teens who are exposed to Internet gambling become addicted.”

You see, if it is not the lottery, it’s horse racing; and if it is not horse racing, it’s casinos; and if it is not casinos, it’s daily fantasy sports. There is a cadre of lobbyists and band of Georgia state representatives and senators who want to add some new kind of gambling in our state, but there is nothing noble and virtuous about it.

In fact, our politicians should be better than to have to depend on any kind of gambling to fund the government.

What would happen if the primary provider in every family in America depended on winning at fantasy sports, poker, blackjack, slot machines, hose racing, etc. to get the money necessary to buy groceries and pay the rent and utilities for his/her family? It wouldn’t be long until millions families would be homeless and the gambling industries would own half the country.

Minnows for the sharks

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charges, “Daily fantasy sports rely on a steady stream of minnows to feed the sharks.”

Google “Daily Fantasy Sports” and you will find websites entitled:

  • Top 10 Reasons Why Fantasy Football is bad for the Game
  • Why Online Daily Fantasy Sports are Mostly a Losers’ Game
  • I Tried Daily Fantasy Sports And It is Evil
  • How the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Turns Fans into Suckers
  • How Fantasy Football is Keeping you Broke
  • DraftKings and FanDuel are Fun, Addictive, and Completely unfair for Most Fans

You can change the name of “casinos” to “destination resorts.” You can change the name of “Georgia Lottery” to “Fantasy Five” or “Mega Millions.” You can change the name of “sports gambling” to “fantasy sports.” And you can call a “skunk” a “tabby cat,” but it still can spray you with a scent that a bucket of Chanel would not neutralize.

This particular piece of proposed legislation, HB 118, is in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee awaiting a hearing. Citizens should call their State Senators immediately and ask them to vote “NO” if they are on the committee and “NO” if it makes it to the Senate floor. The Georgia General Assembly will be in session until Thursday, March 30.

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