Fantasy Sports in the US
Fantasy sports in the US have been around longer than most people think. It all began with a group of friends who used to bet on box scores of baseball games back in the 1970’s. It was a simpler time as it was before the age of the internet so back then you had to wait on the newspaper to see game statistics and outcomes. Boy has it changed.
Fast forward nearly 50 years and everything is instant. You see statistics as they happen and can follow any game in any sport you want at the click of a button. This is all thanks to the rapid growth of daily fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and DrafKings. These sites blew up in popularity in recent years and now even have advertisements and partnerships with ESPN and professional sports leagues. At one point, they were both billion dollar businesses but there was a lot of skepticism when they began to gain popularity due to questions about its legality in regards to federal sports gambling laws like PASPA, the Wire Act, and UIGEA. The two companies are still thriving but they have had their hiccups and have had to shut down in several states.
Legality of Fantasy Sports in the US
As of now both DraftKings and FanDuel are waiting for approval to combine the two sites, into one fantasy sports juggernaut and that potential merger is happening right at the height of the debate as to whether or not it should be legal. The legality of fantasy sports in the US is one of the hottest topics in sports right now.
Back in mid-April, Arkansas became the 11th state to legalize daily fantasy sports in the United States, and they are the ninth in just the last two years! They won’t be the last either as there are several other states that are still awaiting approval for their DFS laws. The industry is predicting that up to half of the states in the US will offer regulated fantasy sports in the coming years.
The sudden surge in states looking to legalize the activity has come due to the specifics of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. UIGEA is a federal law that banned certain aspects of the banking portion of the industry. The specifics that I am talking about that have unleashed the fantasy sports floodgates is a passage in the law that says “No winning outcome is based on the score, point-spread." The argument with this definition of the law is that fantasy sports sites don't allow you to bet on the final score or spread, or individual athletes. Therefore it can be argued that it does not apply to this type of sports betting, and thus far that argument is working.
Legalized Sports Betting
Fantasy sports have been huge in the efforts at both the federal and state levels to help push for legalized sports gambling in the United States. Currently, Nevada is the only state that has regulated sportsbooks that you can bet on within the state thanks to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
New Jersey is the most notable state when it comes to this push as they have taken their case to the Supreme Court and are arguing to legalize sportsbooks in the state. Regardless of the outcome, you can bet that this will cause a ripple effect of other states to follow suit and attempt to do the same.
In fact, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is forming a lobbying group with the goal of eliminating the nation's ban on sports betting before the end of Donald Trump’s first term. This group will consist of several big time gambling companies and various Nevada casinos.
With all of this effort put towards the cause plus the outspoken support of several different professional sports leagues, it’s clear that legalized sports betting is the next step to taking the United States into the right direction. It may happen quicker than you think and if that’s the case, expect fantasy sports to be included in legal betting sites. Change needs to happen and it looks to be well on its way so prepare yourself and keep up to date with the latest news on fantasy sports in the US as well as legalized sports betting.
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