Fantasy Sports Now A Cultural Phenomenon In The USADecember 29, 2014 1:21 pm
Over the past couple of decades fantasy sports have become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon stateside, and each year around 41.5 million US players pretend to be the owners of imaginary football, baseball, and basketball sports teams and gamble billions of dollars on the game. Interestingly, the same UIGEA of 2006 which effectively dismantled the USA’s thriving poker industry at the time, allowed a carveout for individual states to decide their own approach to fantasy sports which, unlike poker, legislators considered a game of skill.
However, the game has changed since then, and now new fantasy sports formats have been developed allowing participants to win and lose huge sums of money even over the space of a single day, in the case of single-day fantasy leagues. Naturally, this has got some people wondering whether fantasy sports should now be considered gambling, although two players who disagrees are brothers Dave and Rob Gomes from Boston who in November won $1,000 playing the DraftKings Millionaire Maker. As Robert Gomes said of fantasy sports:
“It’s definitely different than gambling. A lot of homework goes into it. When the market prices come out on DraftKings, I know all their values by Monday night. You’re constructing a team like a GM. It’s not like I’m just throwing money on the Patriots and hoping they win.”
In any case, with professional US sports leagues and sports shows lending their support to the game by offering fantasy sports advice and picks during TV shows, it seems highly improbable the government will attempt to interfere and curtail the thriving and hugely popular fantasy sports industry anytime soon. Nevertheless, there still exists a potential danger of addiction for players, and currently five states prohibit real money wagering on fantasy sports, including Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington. For the rest of the country, however, fantasy sports continues to surge in popularity and change the way sports fans watch real-life games.