m88 draftKings offers daily and weekly contests for cash prizes.. The sports leagues who have aligned with DraftKings, FanDuel and others sleep well at night with that distinction and enjoy the added revenue stream fantasy brings.
There’s a school of thought that the increasing acceptance of fantasy by the leagues has no bearing on its stand on sports betting. Whether fantasy could continue to prosper if sports betting were legal nationwide remains to be seen.
What is confusing is why fantasy sports is legal as a game of skill but sports betting is not in 46 states. Fantasy sports is a multi-billion dollar industry and the news earlier this month that Walt Disney is reportedly investing about $250 million for a 20 percent interest in Boston-based DraftKings will only hasten its legitimacy and growth. Making an educated bet can hardly be considered a game of chance like playing the lottery. But they have no such concerns about the millions bet annually illegally or the cash doled out on fantasy. The fact that Disney owns sports giant ESPN makes the stake all the more compelling.
“They’ve drawn a line of demarcation between fantasy and gaming,” said Reed Bergman, CEO and president of Playbook, a sports marketing agency. What will be fascinating to see is how ESPN separates real sports from fantasy. New Jersey is waiting for a ruling on an appeal that would allow it to offer sports betting in casinos and at racetracks but it’s unlikely to win.
And while the NBA, MLB and even the NFL are embracing fantasy, they are still in court fighting the spread of sports betting mainly on the grounds it will increase, in their view, the likelihood of games being fixed. “You’re dealing with a separation of church and state issue,” added Bergman.
What’s interesting is fantasy sites avoid being categorized as gambling, which is illegal in most states and Canada, because they offer “games of skill”. While that may be true – at least for now – the spread of fantasy could eventually change the atmosphere among the public and influence the league offices and courts
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