Fantasy football scandal causes debate

January 21, 2016 — by Miles Albert and Roland Shen

Currently, all over the country, the debate of whether fantasy sports should be considered gambling or not has been extremely active.

Currently, all over the country, the debate of whether fantasy sports should be considered gambling or not has been extremely active. Most recently, attorneys in Washington state, Vermont, and New York are arguing to make online fantasy sports illegal.

Sites like FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo Fantasy offer a fantasy sports style of gambling. People bet real money on different sports teams and players’ performance, similar to real life sports gambling, in which gamblers bet on which teams will win or lose. Fantasy sports sites that involve real money are the ones that lawyers are trying to make illegal.

In the past, fantasy football games have barely dodged heavy regulation because they were not technically classified as gambling because according to federal law, and were considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

More recently, however, Washington and Illinois banned the games entirely, declaring it gambling. Vermont’s attorney general wants to do the same thing. So far, it’s banned in seven states.

If the stigma against fantasy sports among state senators continues to gain momentum, FanDuel and DraftKings may even need to pivot completely in order to comply with strict and complex gambling laws, which differ from state to state.

They could also lose core parts of their businesses, underage players who are ineligible to gamble.

Even with all this controversy over money-related fantasy sports, fantasy games played for free remain popular with dozens of students..

“I find fantasy football along with other fantasy sports to be fun because of the satisfaction I get when I win, especially when I was younger,” said senior Noah Quanrud. “It's a different and interesting way of looking at sports.”

Quanrud was introduced to the activity when he was younger, often playing with his older brothers. To him, it was just like collecting and trading baseball cards.

But the world of fantasy sports, innocent as it is for Quanrud, can be corrupted.

It was discovered that these sites allow their own employees to participate in other websites’ fantasy sports games, making it extremely unfair for normal players. A FanDuel employee won $350,000 through the use of advantageous player percentage data from the company itself that was used to win the money.

“The scandal is not that surprising because the employees have an opportunity to make some cash, so it is probably hard for them not to give into that temptation,” Quanrud said. “However, they still shouldn’t be doing this as it harms others in the process.”

After the scandal was unveiled, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association finally announced that it will form a control agency to oversee sites that involve online sports gambling. Now that this agency exists, the rules and regulations of these online sites will become much tighter, since fantasy sports is now considered to be closer to gambling.

Quanrud said that even if fantasy sports do undergo stricter regulations, he would consider wagering money when he turns 18.

“The scandal barely changes my [interest in fantasy sports betting] because it is not like only one person wins,” Quanrud said. “It [hardly] affects the amount of winners.”

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