Winning millions: Is betting on fantasy football gambling?

in Opinions/Editorials/Sports by
Photo courtesy of Bryce Rosen and the ESPN Fantasy Sports App
Photo courtesy of Bryce Rosen and the ESPN Fantasy Sports App

   Fantasy football is one of the most well-known aspects of football. The basic goal of fantasy football is to draft NFL players to form a starting lineup, which is then used to compete against people based on how the players perform. Some argue whether fantasy football is a form of gambling, especially with the creation of daily fantasy sports, such as DraftKings or FanDuel.

   According to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a federal law, fantasy football is not actually gambling. Yet, people continue to dispute this, stating that fantasy football is just another way for people to bet money online; they claim that this should be unlawful, but websites have discovered ways around the terminology of the Act.

   In response to that, others say that fantasy football is and should remain completely legal. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association said “fantasy sports leagues are games of skill.”

   It does not break the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as, in fantasy football, people need to take numerous factors into account. “A manager must know more than simple depth charts and statistics to win; they also must to take into account injuries, coaching styles, weather patterns, prospects, home and away statistics, and many other pieces of information in order to be a successful fantasy sports manager,” said the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. This is more than a person will think about when they gamble, which is the main argument supporting fantasy sports’ legality.

   Some students refute this. “I think playing fantasy football is gambling because you are betting money to win a competition, which is gambling,” Michael Cuthbertson, senior, said. “For daily fantasy websites, such as DraftKings or FanDuel, you are paying money for a real player and are using that player to get money for yourself…Last season, DeAndre Hopkins, the wide receiver for the Houston Texans…said that people are making money using his name in a gambling competition so he should get some of the money.”

   Although the main debate has been created as a result of the popularity of daily fantasy sports and its “win money now” philosophy, it still applies to regular fantasy football, especially when money is often used as a part of a wager for the league. Any new federal decision on the legality of fantasy football has yet to be made, however.

I’ve been a part of The Squall and the journalism class all four years that I have attended Atlantic. After starting to edit articles and work on layout during the second semester of my freshman year, I became Editor-in-Chief halfway through my sophomore year. I’ve always shown my dedication to the newspaper and I have been interested in writing since I was in elementary school. However, journalism didn’t grab my attention until freshman year when I realized that Atlantic offered the class and we could actually create a newspaper, which I find incredible. When I graduate in May, I plan on majoring in sport management at the University of Florida.

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