SBD/March 12, 2013/Media

Daily Fantasy Games Facing Legal Threats; Leagues Not Fans Of Gambling Similarity

Gaming sites like FanDuel allow large wagers on pro athletes' performances
The legal status of daily fantasy websites, which “have been protected under a federal law exempting fantasy sports" from online gambling restrictions, "seems increasingly vulnerable," according to Joshua Brustein of the N.Y. TIMES. The sites “allow users to wager thousands of dollars on the performance of professional athletes.” The distinction between fantasy sports and gambling now is “being challenged in federal court in Illinois and in New Jersey.” And there is “some indication that the patience of pro sports leagues is wearing thin with games that are significantly different from the season-long fantasy contests they have supported in the past.” MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman said, “It becomes akin to a flip of the coin, which is the definition of gambling.” Brustein notes many sites are “run by people with backgrounds in online poker or sports betting, activities that have run afoul of government regulators.” For the “top players, mostly young men, daily online fantasy sports are a full-time job in which they can win six figures annually.” Bowman said that although MLB “may be uncomfortable with the activity, it considers its legal options limited because the sites do not violate its trademarks.” The NHL has said that it “opposes daily fantasy sites that allow players to use real money.” The NBA and the NFL “declined to comment” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/12).
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