Fantasy and Real Sports Betting: The US Question

Published August 24, 2014 by Amir G

Fantasy and Real Sports Betting: The US Question

The popularity of fantasy sports betting in the US raises questions on the illegality of its real-life counterpart in the country.

American daily newspaper USA Today has recently launched a fantasy sports betting site where its readers can place fantasy sports bets on NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. Keeping in mind that USA Today is one of the papers with the widest circulation in the US, this recent move shows just how popular fantasy sports betting is in the country.

US Fantasy Sports Popularity

Estimations put the number of fantasy sports players in the US somewhere between 25 and 30 million. The numbers differ between estimating bodies, but the fact remains: Fantasy sports betting is huge in the US. This begs the question why, and one of the simplest answers is: because it's legal. The Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) considers fantasy sports as games of skill and not of chance because they can be won with knowledge about players.

What's the Difference? 

The weird part is where non-fantasy, real sports betting comes into the picture – something which is illegal in the US. Just like fantasy sports betting, in real sports betting players can put to use their knowledge of the teams and players involved in order to make wise and learned bets; skill is undoubtedly a factor which plays a part in real sports betting.

The net's prime sports betting sites the likes of Winner Sports, William Hill Sports and bet365 Sports all provide bettors with an arsenal of tools with which they can make learned bets based on knowledge and experience. Live betting is one of the main attractions offered by these online sportsbooks, enjoyed by people all over the world provided it's legal in the countries from which they are betting.

Live Betting

Live betting is where bettors can follow the sports event as it unfolds and place different in-play bets according to the happenings on the field. It would be hard to argue that skill and knowledge are not a factor when live bets are placed by bettors. Unless they simply decided to bet on a team because they liked the jersey its players wore, real sports betting requires skill from players exactly like its fantasy counterpart.

All things considered and with the popularity of the "Big 4" inside the US and all around the world, it is weird that real sports betting is illegal in the US. Like online gambling, perhaps it's just a matter of time – one (or many) can only hope.   

Mentioned in this article

See also

Sports Betting and the Super Bowl: US Legality Special

Special Report: The Popularity of Fantasy Sports

2017 Shaping up to Be a Magical Year of Promises for IGaming


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