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Daily Fantasy Football, Gambling or Not?

March 22, 2016

    Each week from October to January, I along with millions of other fanatics, subscribe to a weekly fantasy football league in the hopes of winning money. Daily fantasy football is composed of two elements, money and football. A player first chooses a league with a "buy-in" of a certain amount of money. Next, the player sets about compiling a strategic lineup that falls under the required "salary cap" for the league. This might sound like gambling but really, fantasy football is a game of both skill and luck, hence it should not be considered gambling.

    To be considered gambling, a game must include betting, must be a game of chance and you must have a chance of winning. It is irrelevant to the states because both of the major sites (Fanduel and DraftKings) are legally able to do this. (Pagels) They are able to do this because fantasy football is not a game of chance. It is classified as a game of skill. (Pagels) You need to have a general knowledge of what you are doing. You have to know which players perform better and what are the odds that they have a good game based on the defense they are going up against. The main argument of this is that people think fantasy football classifies as a game of chance.

    In five states, courts have classified fanduel as illegal. The states argue that fantasy football is purely based on luck because you do not how a player will perform in a given week. (Danielson) They believe that one does not know how a player will perform because their statistics vary from week to week depending on the matchup.. (Danielson) The state's' argument is baseless because some players are more talented than others and therefore perform better week to week. Some players will obviously do better because they are more talented. For instance, Tom Brady, a star quarterback, will likely put up more points than Chase Daniel, a backup quarterback. If you had no prior knowledge of the game, you would not know this.
Fantasy football is not all luck and not all skill. It is a combination of both. You need to know what you are doing to succeed in fantasy football, and you need to have a general idea of the sport. Almost all the people who participate in daily fantasy football know what the are doing. (Pagels) You cannot succeed in this game if you don't know what you are doing making it a game of skill.

    Daily fantasy football only fills out two thirds of the criteria for gambling. Clearly, fantasy football is a game of both skill and luck, hence it should not be considered gambling. While some people believe that you cannot know how the players will perform, you can use statistics based on a player's previous games to infer how they will perform in the future. If daily fantasy football would be made illegal in any more states, I think it would be unfair because the game is not luck. Fantasy football is skill.

Works Cited:
Danielson, Jeff, and Jake Highfill. "Free Fantasy Sports from Heavy-Handed Laws." Des Moines Register. 26 Mar. 2015: 19. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
Pagels, Jim. "Is Your Fantasy Football Squad Illegal?." Reason. Jan. 2016: 18-22. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.


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