Online Gambling Companies Call for Regulation of Fantasy Sports

Published August 21, 2015 by Elana K

Online Gambling Companies Call for Regulation of Fantasy Sports

Gambling companies are calling for fantasy sports to be regulated just as their companies are.

Two of the main fantasy sports start-ups, FanDuel and DraftKings, have recently raised millions of dollars - each - which has caused some of the gambling bigwigs, such as MGM Resorts International, Boyd gaming Corp and William Hill Plc, to stand up and take notice. While these companies are obviously not opposed to gambling, they do think that fantasy sports should be regulated just like online gambling is/is not regulated.

"I make my living in the gambling industry, so I'm hardly opposed to gambling," said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. "I think daily fantasy sports betting should be legal, just like I think traditional sports betting should be legal. But let's not pretend one is OK and the other is not. Drawing some artificial line between the two makes no sense as a matter of law or policy."

The Question of Fantasy Sports

The question of fantasy sports is whether it should be considered a game of skill, or a form of gambling. If it is a form of gambling, then it should be regulated just as traditional sportsbetting and online gambling is regulated. This includes being overseen by a gaming board, with strict guidelines about enforcing anti-money laundering procedures, protecting player funds and paying special gaming taxes.

Lobbyists for fantasy sports claim that the game is clearly one of skill, not one of chance. They argue that the players who play fantasy sports have a major influence on the outcome of their game, unlike casino games, which are ruled solely by chance.

Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, AG Burnett, who is currently reviewing the legality of fantasy sports, said, "When you start offering daily fantasy contests, then you start to blur the line between skill and chance. When chance begins to govern the outcome more than skill, you have a form of gaming, and that's when the need for regulation kicks in."

As of now, fantasy sports and online gambling will remain separate industries, but the future of both is as yet undecided. 

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