As if payday loans weren’t bad enough to worry about, now there’s this thing called daily sports betting. The two monsters in the room right now are DraftKings and FanDuel, and though they acknowledge that it’s really gambling, their position is that it’s a legitimate franchise to be in because it’s supposedly a “game of skill.”
Not so fast says both Nevada and New York. Both of those places have already banned the process in their states, though Nevada’s ruling is based on a different standard than New York’s.
Both of the companies above are planning on suing New York state on the grounds that what they do is legal and pretty much the same as any other fantasy sports betting sites. However, there are over 20 other states contemplating banning these sites as well. So, it’s going to be an uphill challenge.
Why sue New York, because supposedly there are nearly 600,000 people from the state playing on these sites; yeow! Also, FanDuel is based in the state, and DraftKings has a large office in Manhattan.
Still, what’s the general take on sites like this?
Instead of a fee to join, what you decide to bet is what your fee is. They have both free and paid games, which is how it used to be with online poker. When you decide what you want to play you get so much in credits that acts like money in the game. Depending on which sport you select, you see what the players you want are worth and pick your teams. If you’re in a league you’re playing against other people, which means players you like won’t always be available.
The highest fee I’ve seen is $30 for a daily game. However, they have major events as well, and some of those can go as high as $5,000 or more to play. The payouts are bigger, and all winners can immediately download their winnings to their Paypal account. Those are games played online in advance of an upcoming event. For instance, you could start selecting your team on Monday for a full slate of Saturday college football games.
In this regard, it’s player beware. The more you pay the more you get in credits, but there are no refunds. Once you’re money’s in you’re obligated to either do something with it or lose it.
Can you win money? Absolutely; that’s what got these companies in more trouble than they expected. An employee with one of these companies used the knowledge he gained from research there on the other company’s site and won $350,000.
At this point any employees of gambling sites like these are banned from playing on any other sites but that might have been the catalyst towards trying to ban them. It almost smacked of insider trading, and at this point, although there’s no proof and it seems almost impossible to do, it got some people wondering if the system was rigged.
I’m not going to take a position as to whether or not sites like this should be legal or not. Instead, I’m going to point out the worries about playing sites like this on a daily basis if you’re going to spend your money, and I’m going to use online poker as a comparison, since I used to play that and, for the most part, it got banned.
The first comparison is the question of skill vs pure gambling.
In many circles, poker is considered a game sport. After all, it’s on ESPN, and they always show the World Series of Poker main championships. Most of the winners are people who have played for years, studied the game, and make a living at it. Sure, sometimes an unknown slips through, but even those people have played the game for a long time.
Fantasy sports is another matter entirely. I’ve never met a single person playing fantasy sports that knows anything about the offensive lines of every college football team in the nation, or even the type of defense a team plays. At best, some people might know who the starting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are. They might know a few defensive players as well. Maybe they know who’s injured or not.
Outside of that, it becomes more of a guessing game than a skill. The reason a site can pay people off quickly is because the site is the actual winner every time, and what they pay back out to people is minimal by comparison. So, the skill level is debatable.
The second comparison is the money aspect.
This is the big one. I once paid $5 to enter a regional poker tournament with almost 5,000 other players. I lasted 7 hours before busting out and didn’t win a cent. It was the only time I put my own money on the table, though I’d gotten pretty good. I used to win money on the site as a free player, and I then used that money to play in other tournaments.
With sports betting in general one hags no real control over the outcome. Look what happened in the MMA this past weekend when Ronda Rousey, a 2000-1 favorite, lost. Is it a real skill to bet on Leonard Fournette to be a game changer when his efforts the last two weeks haven’t been what they were earlier in the year against better opponents?
Sure, there were poker players who put money into a site more than once a day, but the numbers don’t come close to what’s going on in fantasy sports betting. If you’re a player strong enough to only play $3 a day for fantasy sports then there’s probably no issues. However, I worry about the people playing even $25 a day gambling on something they really have no idea about and no real knowledge of what’s going on other than the fact that players are playing the games. Is it worth $150 to $200 a week on a wing and a prayer?
If you’re going to play I’d recommend setting a weekly budget up front and putting the money aside for it… figuratively of course since you have to put it on your credit card or Paypal account. If you play within your means and this is something you love, then go for it.
If you’re all over the board, don’t seem to be very good, and keep going into your necessarily money to fund you play… leave immediately and stay away. Always take care of your bills and life first.