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Then the U. Supreme Court in threw out a year-old federal law that banned that sports betting, and suddenly the distinction hardly seemed to matter. The two DFS giants almost immediately began to dominate the sports betting space while maintaining those DFS products. But last week, the status quo potentially was upended when the IRS published a page memorandum declaring that DFS is gambling and therefore subject to a federal tax.
The memo contrasts traditional season-long fantasy sports leagues — such as the Rotisserie League baseball competition my current league launched in — to DFS, which does not tend to feature merely friends and work colleagues pooling money and then paying it all out to the most successful owners six months later.
Most importantly, whether DFS is a game of skill for state gambling statute purposes is not relevant for determining whether DFS is wagering for federal excise tax purposes. DFS was in its infancy at the time, of course. Sportsbooks already pay an 0. It has been confirmed in courts throughout the country that DFS is not wagering, and legislatures have affirmed that.
We believe that the arguments at the federal level are incredibly strong. But in a series of tweets , renowned gaming law attorney Daniel Wallach questioned the logic of the memo. She relies entirely on a single Random House dictionary definition, ignoring more than one century of case-law on that issue. This is the linguistic equivalent of forum-shopping. Wallach said that the real definition of a wager is that there are two sides, with each winning or losing depending on the result of the bet.
As long as one of the favorites lose, the house wins. This advice may not be used or cited as precedent. Who sought the analysis is unknown, setting off a flurry of social media speculation among gaming industry insiders as to the identity of the requesting party. Is Daily Fantasy Sports Gambling? Sports website.
In , daily fantasy sports began to face increased legal scrutiny. In August , a class action lawsuit was filed against DraftKings, alleging that it engaged in false advertising in regards to a promotion in which the service claimed it would double a new user's first deposit.
The suit alleged that DraftKings would only credit the deposit bonus to a player's account if they fulfill certain monetary and participation requirements within four months, causing them to "incur additional and substantial monetary obligations", rather than instantly receive the bonus as implied by advertising.
In the wake of the scandal, multiple class-action lawsuits were filed against both DraftKings and FanDuel, with suits alleging charges such as fraud, racketeering , negligence, and false advertising, arguing that the employees' use of inside information had made the games unfair. One of the lawsuits were filed by a resident of New Orleans, despite paid fantasy games being illegal in the state.
FanDuel objected to the lawsuit, arguing that its use of his likeness fell within existing case law surrounding the use of player names and statistics in fantasy sports games. In December , Canadian media company TheScore launched QuickDraft, a daily fantasy game targeted at both Canada and the United States, based on the intellectual property of its acquisition of Swoopt.
In contrast to other DFS services and in an effort to work around the increased scrutiny and uncertain legality of paid games, the service is being positioned as a free-to-play service with smaller cash prizes, a more "casual" atmosphere with fewer " sharks ", and the possibility of being advertising-funded in the future. DraftKings and FanDuel attempted to merge in , but the deal was shelved after the U. Federal Trade Commission threatened to block it over concerns that the combined company would have a monopoly on paid DFS.
In May , the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of —which outlawed state legalization of sports betting in most U. National Collegiate Athletic Association. The following month, Delaware became the first state to create new legislation to allow sports betting,  followed shortly by New Jersey. Analysts predicted that the duopoly of DraftKings and FanDuel would make moves to capitalize on the decision, including leveraging their regulatory expertise and influence to lobby for state legalization of sports betting, and incorporating betting features into their platforms to take advantage of their existing market positions and brand recognition.
The aggressive marketing tactics used by daily fantasy services have also affected the growth of the industry. DraftKings and FanDuel also became known for their use of direct response advertising on television, especially during sports telecasts. The increased legal scrutiny surrounding DFS resulted in providers spending less on marketing in order to focus more on legal costs. There are conflicting arguments over whether paid daily fantasy sports games constitute gambling , due to its mixture of chance -based and skill -based elements.
In an " IAmA " thread on Reddit , DraftKings CEO Jason Robins described the service as being "almost identical to a casino ", described the concept of DFS as a cross between fantasy sports and online poker , and repeatedly referred to the service using gambling-oriented terms such as "wager" and "betting". Viacom, Inc. Cavanaugh of the U. District Court of New Jersey distinguished an "entry fee" in a paid fantasy sports competition as being a fee required to participate rather than a "wager", because they are "paid unconditionally", and because the prizes in such games were "guaranteed" and determined in advance.
Bloomberg Businessweek acknowledged that daily fantasy contests are often won by a minority of skilled professional players, or " sharks ", who employ "elaborate statistical modeling and automated tools that can manage hundreds of entries at once and identify the weakest opponents". A DFS player interviewed by Bloomberg argued that "no matter how much somebody knows about sports, if you put an established player up against a new player, that established player's probably going to have a 75 percent chance of winning—at least.
FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles disputed the accuracy of the study, arguing that its daily fantasy baseball contests do not have as many participants as those it runs for football. Writing for The New York Times Magazine , Jay Caspian Kang argued that DFS games themselves were "not inherently crooked", explaining that "most of the benefits praised by its enthusiasts — the ease of play, the camaraderie among fans, the challenge of solving what amounts to a math puzzle — are real.
It does take skill to parse game film, diligently follow the news and interpret the thousands of bits of sports information that are generated each night. If a problem gambler at the poker rooms I frequent in New York City were to hire a programmer and flood the D. In response to these concerns, DFS services implemented changes to improve the fairness and transparency of their contests, including entry limits, banning off-site scripts, identifying veteran-level players, allowing users to block players they do not wish to compete against, and adding beginner-level contests intended for new users.
Each state applies varying standards in regards to determining whether a game is one of skill, or of chance; in most states, this determination is based on whether the skill-based elements of the game are predominant over those of chance, and whether these chance-based elements have more than an incidental effect on the outcome of the game dominant factor test , material degree. He determined that DFS would likely be classified as a game of chance under Canadian law, going on to say in an interview that under the Criminal Code of Canada , games that mix chance- and skill-based elements are considered games of chance.
However, Canadian authorities have not yet targeted DFS services; historically, the government has only targeted illegal gambling operations that have a presence within the country. The UIGEA has frequently been cited as having exempted daily fantasy games from being considered gambling, as the law does not consider an online contest with pre-determined prizes, and an outcome based on skill that is "determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of sporting events, including any non-participant's individual performances in such sporting events", to be unlawful wagering.
The act itself does not define unlawful internet wagering, and expressly refrains from altering the legality of any underlying conduct other than funds transfers, meaning that state law remains binding. Daily fantasy services have historically blocked residents of Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington from participating in paid games, under a presumption that DFS is illegal in these states due to the strictness of their gambling laws. Louisiana attempted to pass a law that would exempt fantasy sports from its anti-online gambling laws, but the bill was defeated as the result of lobbying by both the Louisiana Family Forum which showed concerns that players could develop an addiction to daily fantasy games , and the Louisiana Video Gaming Association which felt that DFS would cannibalize the legal video poker industry, and needed to be highly regulated.
On October 15, , the Nevada Gaming Control Board published a memorandum ruling that daily fantasy sports games were a form of sports wagering, and that DFS services must cease serving customers in the state of Nevada until they obtain a sports pool license. On January 17, , Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton issued an opinion, stating that "it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut.
He explained that "the technology may have changed, but the vice has not. He argued that while picking players for a fantasy team is an activity of skill, player performance can vary, and Alabama law dictates that it is illegal to risk something of value on any game with an element of chance. In September , the state of Massachusetts tabled a bill exploring the possibility of allowing the Massachusetts Lottery to run online, skill-based games, such as daily fantasy sports.
On March 7, , the state of Virginia passed legislation regulating "fantasy contests", defined as skill-based games with cash prizes that are based on the "accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals"; the law makes no reference to sports or DFS. The law was criticized for being broadly-worded, with critics believing that it could feasibly apply to season-length games or any similar activities, and that the required licensing fee adds a financial barrier for doing business in the state.
On May 10, , it was reported that the U. In August , New York became the largest state to legalize daily fantasy sports. By the end of , 18 different states had legalized paid-entry fantasy sports contests. On November 10, , Attorney General of New York State Eric Schneiderman issued a cease-and-desist order to DraftKings and FanDuel, arguing that DFS was illegal under state law which specifies that games where players "risk something of value" and do not have "control or influence" over the outcome, are gambling ,   and ordering the two services to cease serving residents of New York.
He stated that DFS "wagers" represented "a wager on a 'contest of chance' where winning or losing depends on numerous elements of chance to a 'material degree'". He characterized the DFS industry as being a "massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country", causing the "same public health and economic problems associated with gambling, particularly for populations prone to gambling addiction and individuals who are unprepared to sustain losses, lured by the promise of easy money.
In response, DraftKings and FanDuel filed lawsuits against the state of New York on November 13, arguing that their games were one of skill, they had been denied due process due to the Attorney General's abruptness, that he does not have the power to make such a ruling, and that Schneiderman engaged in tortious interference by sending cease and desist notices to their payment processors.
Following the hearing, a spokesperson for the Attorney General declared that he could file a formal lawsuit against the two sites "as soon as tomorrow". The same day, state senator Michael Ranzenhofer introduced a bill that would explicitly classify daily fantasy sports as a game of skill.
On November 17, , the Attorney General filed a request for a temporary injunction to force DraftKings and FanDuel to cease serving customers in the state of New York. In the filing, Schneiderman argued that DFS was merely a "re-branding" of sports betting, and in response to claims that DFS constitutes a game of skill, he argued that "a few good players in a poker tournament may rise to the top based on their skill; but the game is still gambling. During hearings on November 25, , Judge Manuel J.
Mendez disputed assertions by the services that a player's choice of athletes represents "control or influence" over the outcome, stating that players are ultimately "relying on someone else's skill" to determine an outcome.
Schneiderman also acknowledged the services' deceptive advertising practices, such as "convoluted" first deposit bonuses. On January 11, , DraftKings' and FanDuel's stay was granted, meaning that they could continue to serve New York residents, pending the outcome of the appeal. The Boston Globe believed that a ruling on the legality of DFS in New York State would have industry-wide implications, as it is one of the largest markets for these services.
Surowiecki argued that "given the absence of a good argument for why daily fantasy should be illegal in New York, while the lottery and racetrack betting and casinos are not, the best strategy that DraftKings and FanDuel could pursue might be to get the State Legislature to eliminate the inconsistency and explicitly legalize them.
On March 21, , the Attorney General announced a partial settlement of its lawsuit, under which DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to cease offering paid games in the state of New York, and abide by the result of an upcoming appeals court hearing.
The hearings, which would determine whether the services would have to pay restitution, were tentatively scheduled for September —assuming that legislation legalizing daily fantasy sports was not passed by then. DraftKings and FanDuel spokespersons stated that the companies were working with local officials and supporting legislation to legalize DFS under state law.
This settlement does not address the false advertising claims, which are still being pursued. The next day, Yahoo announced that it would voluntarily comply with the settlement and also cease offering paid games in the state of New York. On June 18, , the New York State senate approved legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports. Daily fantasy providers will be required to pay The NCAA considers all paid fantasy games—including daily fantasy—to fall under its prohibition of sports wagering by student athletes , punishable by ineligibility to participate in NCAA-sanctioned athletics for one year.
Advertising for daily fantasy services are also forbidden from being broadcast during telecasts of the NCAA's tournaments. The NFL does not outright ban participation in paid or daily fantasy sports games by its players and staff, but does restrict how much one may win in such games.
FanDuel's Terms of Service bans any athlete, coach, referee, or owner from entering contests for the sport in which they are involved with. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about daily fantasy sports. For fantasy sports in general, see Fantasy sport.
Anthem Media Group. Retrieved October 9, The Washington Post. Retrieved October 8, Advertising Age. The Wall Street Journal. September 9, Retrieved October 15, SmallCap Network. The New York Times. Legal Sports Report. Retrieved December 9, NBC Sports Group.
Archived from the original on October 15, Sports Business Journal. The Sporting News. State of Nevada. Retrieved October 20, Retrieved June 9, Vox Media. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 6, Retrieved February 7, USA Today. Gannett Company. AOL, Inc. Retrieved March 18, February 27, Retrieved July 21, August 25, Sports Video Group. Retrieved October 17, November 10, October 15, Retrieved October 16, Australian Financial Review. Retrieved December 13, An uncertain line between fantasy sports, gambling.
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While much of the money in this space flows through the fantasy sports operators and sportsbooks, a cottage media industry has popped up to support it. Niche sites zero in on sports statistics, analyzed for specific audiences playing specific fantasy games and making specific sports bets.
Troves of podcasts bring a new spin on the chatter of legacy sports talk radio. After reading an article on the sports analytics website numberFire that he vehemently disagreed with, he emailed the editor, who asked if Raybon wanted to start writing for them for free.
Over time, Raybon started building an audience and improving his analysis, and in turn he was able to get paid more and more for his writing. Finally, he left his accounting job for a full-time position writing for the fantasy site 4for4 and helped launch its DFS coverage. These days, he splits his time between writing for the Action Network, an upstart subscription media company focused on sports betting, and its sister website FantasyLabs, as well as co-hosting Fantasy Sports Radio on SiriusXM.
Fantasy and sports betting has given fans new ways and reasons to watch. And in addition to the niche sites and podcasts, mainstream sports media have caught on. Outside of media, individual retailers have gotten into the fray. RotoWear , a website selling tongue-in-cheek apparel for sports fans, has its origins in fantasy sports hence the roto- prefix and has an entire collection of fantasy- and DFS-related merch.
The thrills of DFS and sports betting are popping up in real life too — not just in terrestrial casinos and DraftKings or FanDuel-hosted tournament finals, but in bars and restaurants. The Virginia-based company Eaglestrike Fantasy Sports has fantasy kiosks in sports bars across five states and hosts live fantasy competitions too.
In Washington, DC, when sports betting becomes fully operational, individual bars and restaurants can apply for special licenses to host sports betting too. It might not be long before fantasy and sports betting are a staple of the modern sports bar. From the time he was 5 years old, Roth knew he wanted to be a TV weatherman. And by all accounts, he achieved his dream.
In Dallas, he worked on a show, Eye Opener , that was syndicated, which meant he often forecast the weather for viewers in Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Portland, and DC as well. I loved the show I was on. Roth started to feel the financial constraints of the local TV news business, and they were becoming increasingly troublesome. At one point, Roth was asked to handle weather, sports, traffic, and anchor broadcasts. In , Roth started working a second job.
Through a friend of a friend, he found out that RotoGrinders needed someone to predict whether baseball games would rain out or not. And that was really all I needed. As his TV work became shakier, the DFS industry was growing rapidly and with it grew the scope of his responsibilities. Eventually, Roth was let go from the station, along with the rest of his on-air team, and his show was canceled. Shortly after, RotoGrinders made him a full-time offer.
While his lifestyle is different now, only some things are different about his work. Maybes are not accepted in sports betting. Recently, he turned down a job offer to do just that. Support Vox's explanatory journalism. Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that empowers you through understanding. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts to all who need them.
The rise of daily fantasy and sports betting has created an economy of its own. FD and DK have been rivals for the overall market lead since In terms of number of players overall Fanduel appears to have the edge. DraftKings is in a very healthy second place. These two fantasy sports giants control the vast majority of the daily fantasy sports action. The smaller sites are considerably smaller in terms of size of players, guarantees and contests. To be fair, FantasyDraft is one of the few smaller to medium sized sites that has been able to stick around and compete.
We felt comfortable enough to recommend them to our DFS sites if you are looking for something a little different than the typical build your DFS team and score points. Not limited them so much but have created a variety of contests that are not mass entry. They have introduced filters that do not allow the high volume grinders to play in their lower buy-in events.
You can now play one day fantasy golf showdown mode and weekend fantasy golf where you just compete for rounds 3 and 4. No more trying to pick players who make the cut in this format. Both sites will remain competitors as the companies abruptly called off merger talks back in July. Also hints that Draftkings is in a strong position than FanDuel.
We shall see. Players funds are unlikely to be recovered. Strong rumors circulating of a merger between DraftKings and FanDuel — They are trying to make this happen. There have been a few minor issues up to this point but they learned from and I believe. There has been way less advertising, less drama although there was some and to be honest, more difficult games to win.
They calmed down on the advertising and they are trying to make sure the industry operates as a real living ecosystem. Both major sites and a few smaller ones have now added player identification tags letting you know if the player is a strong player in general or not as well as limiting the number of H2H matches any one person can scoop up against you.
Either the two big sites will get their collective acts together and build a sustainable long term business or it will crash and burn positive news update. Today it looks like they are getting their acts together. Back in we saw the first emergence of a couple of other players with big backing.
Notably Yahoo! While many argue they are too late to get in on the action, they feel otherwise. The short answer is there are a growing number of DFS sites available but I highly recommend you stick to the sites that have built a reputation already that you can trust.
There are thousands thousands of different leagues and contests up for grabs every day. Especially every weekend during football season you will find tens of thousands of unique players take part in contests every weekend. The traditional fantasy sites like Yahoo! Plus with the large player pools, a huge portion of the field is made up of recreational fantasy players. Not to mention that the largest sites are US based companies meaning someone you can really reach out to if you must.
To learn more about these sites click through to our reviews below to find the right fit for you. The middle and small sized sites sometimes offer value you will not find at the larger sites. You can sometimes find overlay extra money in some of their tournaments or special bonuses or freerolls you can take advantage of for joining the site.
In addition you can find tournaments with solid prizes with less overall competition. Read through the fantasy site review by clicking the site above to see learn more and get details on the signup bonuses. If you are ready to play, check out our latest site news and promos section for up to date promotions. Okay, maybe not that wild of a fantasy, but pretty close!
The less popular sports are only available at select sites. These are the current sports you can play. We have new player guides based on the different sports here. As our content is ready in these lists we will link them accordingly above.
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