Did you know that it’s illegal to bet on sports in the United States? Aside from Las Vegas, you can’t bet on the outcome of a sporting event without violating the law. Even the Wire Act applies specifically to sports betting, whereas online poker and casino games are exempt.
So how come you can’t turn on the TV without being hit over the head with an advertisement for sports betting sites?
So what’s the deal here? How is DraftKings operating within the law? How can betting on sports be illegal but winning money by betting at sites like DraftKings be completely within the realm of the law?
The answer is a legal loophole that has allowed fantasy sports betting to surge like never before. While many believe fantasy sports is basically sports betting with a fancy name, the law actually says otherwise. Fantasy sports falls under a legal loophole that says it doesn’t qualify as gambling.
In a nutshell, fantasy sports involve paying an entry fee that ranges from a quarter to several thousand dollars. You could win anywhere from a few bucks to more than $1 million. The most you can lose by betting is your entry fee. That’s right, an entry fee. You’re not placing a wager. You’re entering a contest. And you’re not technically betting on the outcome of a single game. Instead, you’re betting on the performance of athletes in your league.
Sound familiar? It is. If you love sports, chances are at the start of a pro sports season, you participated in a fantasy league. Those leagues lasted all season long, but the new fantasy sports sites reset the action on a weekly basis.
Fantasy sports betting is arguably pretty fun. But in our opinion, it is as much gambling as placing a bet at the Blackjack tables or placing a wager at a poker site. In fact, one could argue that poker and Blackjack are more skill-based (poker definitely is, and with card counting Blackjack can be, too).
As fantasy sports grows and grows, there’s a good chance that the government could tighten the loopholes. After all, when the feds realize that they are cut out of the action, they do what they can to get their hands on a piece of the pie.
But right now, the legal loophole is so clear that it prompted Disney to inject a $250 million investment into DraftKings (Disney also now owns ESPN, so there’s some tie-in there). If The Mouse approves of gambling, then chances are the US government won’t try and change the rules.
So what are your thoughts? Is fantasy sports betting worth it? Have you tried it and if you have, have you also tried traditional sports betting (whether the government likes it or not, there are lots of sites out there to choose from). Sound off with your opinion and let us know what you think.