Home' Island Sun : ISN 102315 Contents 11B
ISLAND SUN - OCTOBER 23, 2015
Is The Booming Internet Fantasy Sports
A Form Of Gambling Or Games Of Skill?
by Ed Frank
It’s that time of the year where there is a crescendo in pro-
fessional sports with football, baseball, hockey and – in a few
days – basketball, all in action and all entwined to grab your
And unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’ve been
inundated with countless television ads seeking your participation
– and your dollars – in online fantasy sports sites FanDuel and
Fantasy sports have captured the interest, imagination and
participation for millions of sports enthusiasts for decades, but
never to the level that has been created by these two Internet
And lawmakers have quickly launched probes into this unregulated world of daily
Just in case you don’t understand fantasy sports, in its simplest terms, you select
lineups of athletes to create your own team to compete against other fantasy teams.
Internet fantasy sites have flourished under an exemption to a 2006 Federal
Internet gambling law that classified it as a game of skill rather than outright gambling.
But is it?
DraftKings and FanDuel attract huge numbers of participants with what many say
are misleading ads waving banners of success stories about instant millionaires.
One reported study showed, however, that less than two percent of the players won
more than 91 percent of the payoffs.
We can debate whether these Internet fantasy sites are gambling or games of skill
until the next century without a conclusion. But we all know that gambling is a way of
life and will never be stopped, regardless if they are legal or illegal.
Is church bingo gambling? Are lotteries gambling? And what about that $5 bet you
made on the golf course? Get the point?
More to the issue, however, we must be assured that DraftKings, FanDuel and other
Internet fantasy sites are being run honestly.
They came into question recently when it was disclosed that an analyst for
DraftKings had published an article revealing a pregame listing of National Football
League players with their ownership percentages – the players selected the most on
The next week, that analyst won $350,000 on FanDuel, the competing site.
That’s when the lawmakers started screaming for hearings and investigations. The
two big sites immediately banned employees from participating in these paid games.
Nevada, the gambling mecca of the country, recently decreed that these sites
involve “wagering on the collective performance of players participating in sporting
events” and must apply for state licenses through the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Critics contend the Nevada ruling was to protect the lucrative sports books in the
The serious, studious players who spend their dollars through these Internet sites
will tell you they are involved in games of skill. And maybe they are, although there still
is an element of gambling.
This is an issue that’s not going to go away. And it’s an issue we will likely hear
plenty about in the weeks and months ahead.
What are your thoughts?
Island Paws Hosts
Bash October 30
The Gulf Coast Humane Society
(GCHS) will be joining Island Paws
and the Over Easy Café for the
Island Paws annual Howl-o -ween Bash
on Friday, October 30 from 5 to 7 p.m .
For a $10 donation you and your
dog(s) can mingle and sniff among friends
while consuming puptails, yappetizers and
participate as well as enjoy the costume
contest. Judging for the costume contest
will take place at approximately 6:30
p.m . There will be raffles, goody bags,
and prizes available during the event.
All proceeds from the event will benefit
The event location is 630 Tarpon Bay
Road on Sanibel Island. For more infor-
mation, call Island Paws at 395-1464.
Gulf Coast Humane Society is located
at 2010 Arcadia Street in Fort Myers.
For more information, visit www.gulfco-
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