SBD/June 24, 2016/Sports in Society

Nevada Gambling Regulators Approve U.S. Fantasy Platform, Calling It A "Fair Model"

A new gambling platform "approved by Nevada regulators Thursday will further blur the lines between traditional sports betting and fantasy sports contests," according to Sally Ho of the AP. The Nevada Gaming Commission gave a gambling license to Henderson-based U.S. Fantasy, "calling it a fair model as daily fantasy sports businesses such as DraftKings and FanDuel stand accused in several states of operating as illegal, unregulated betting systems." U.S. Fantasy "will offer 11,000 sports events for betting annually and open later this year." Like DraftKings and FanDuel, it will "allow people to bet on their picks of the top professional sports players and win money based on the athletes' performance." However, they differ in "how they pay out winners and whether they believe their business model constitutes gambling." In the U.S. Fantasy system, users will "bet against each other on individual player stats, with a pot of prize money that can change depending on how many people are wagering and how much they bet." Using football as an example, "someone can bet" that Patriots QB Tom Brady "will throw the most yards that week." Fantasy Sports Trade Association Chair Peter Schoenke said that he "has not seen US Fantasy's system." Schoenke: "Is it truly a fantasy game or some sort of contest or instrument that is a regular gambling product? The industry is curious what exactly it is. ... It doesn't feel like fantasy if you're not putting up your knowledge against someone else" (AP, 6/23).

READY FOR FOOTBALL SEASON: In Las Vegas, Sean Whaley notes the approval is "expected to lead to the return of daily fantasy sports betting in Nevada as early as August." American Wagering CEO Vic Salerno’s fantasy sports program "is unique because it relies on the betting system used in horse racing." Salerno: "The target market of course is going to be the millennials." U.S. Fantasy plans to "launch the concept in Nevada casinos’ race and sports books and ultimately expand to states across the country through racetracks and even lotteries to create larger nationwide pools" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/24).
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