Playing fantasy football for money isn’t gambling. Wait, what?

Posted on 08-28-2014 by
Tags: Latst Headlines & Stories , Ethics , compliance , trending news

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As the saying goes, who’s ready for some football? The countdown is on!

In a few short days, water coolers all across the United States will be infiltrated with passionate sports enthusiasts interjecting their bragging rights (and/or passionate comments) about just how wrong the pre-season predictions really were. All the while, making calculations related to their fantasy football teams: Who to trade, who to keep, who to bench. And, thanks to Congress, playing fantasy football for money isn’t considered a form of gambling.

 Wait, what?

 According to a recent article published by NBC, since Congress decided that “an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants, or their skill at physical reaction or physical manipulation [but not chance], and, in the case of a fantasy or simulation sports game, has an outcome that is determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of sporting events” isn’t gambling and makes gambling on fantasy sports legal. This is allowed as a part of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).

 “In many ways, a fantasy football team resembles a convoluted parlay card, where the non-gambling gambler tries to compile a roster of players who will ‘win’ more yards and points than the team put together by an opposing non-gambling gambler.”

 However, your gambling endeavors MUST stop at fantasy football (at least in the office environment).

“Risking money, whatever the amount, on the outcome of NFL games constitutes gambling while risking money, whatever the amount, on the outcome of the performance of specific players in NFL games does not constitute gambling.”

 So the question remains: should betting on fantasy football be legal? While several levels of government have decided fantasy sports are considered games of skill, rather than chance, participants can only “win” in fantasy sports leagues by successfully utilizing superior knowledge of the players involved. I’m still not sold that picking the best slate of players on a given week is truly more a result of skill, rather than chance, especially considering how widely a player’s performance can vary week to week.

 What do you think? Comment below about whether you think fantasy football betting ought to be allowed or not.

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