3 reasons more and more states are outlawing daily fantasy sports sites like FanDuel.

If you've watched an NFL game this year, chances are you've seen at least one ad for either DraftKings or FanDuel.

Probably, you've seen more like 17 hojillion. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.


You probably know that they allow users to bet on fantasy sports — and maybe earn (or more likely, lose) a few bucks here and there. What you might not know is that these sites have come under increased legal scrutiny in the past few months.

Nevada banned the sites from operating in-state back in September. And just today, the attorney general of New York ordered both DraftKings and FanDuel to stop taking bets in that state while his office investigates the legality of each business.

What's the deal? Why is fantasy football — of all things — attracting the attention of the law? It basically boils down to three things.

1. An employee cheating scandal makes the whole thing look ... kinda shady.

Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images.

In theory, fantasy sports are a level playing field. You put in your money and choose your players and/or teams, and you're promised an equal shot at winning a monetary prize. It's a system that works ... as long as everyone has the same information.

Increasingly, that's looking like it might not be the case with DraftKings and FanDuel.

In September, an employee of DraftKings won $350,000 in a competition at competitor site FanDuel — the same week he accidentally released a bunch of insider data online — which made it seem like people who work for daily fantasy sports sites might be operating with more information than the average player. According to some reports, executives and employees of the two companies are some of the top bettors on their rivals' platforms.

Ultimately, the employee was cleared — internally — of wrongdoing. But it prompted the FBI to launch an investigation, which is ongoing.

2. Unlike most gambling, the daily fantasy sports industry is pretty much completely unregulated.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Gambling is a heavily supervised industry in most states and on the Internet. A 2006 law prohibits most forms of betting online. Online fantasy sports are exempt from the law, however, as "games of skill" are not technically considered gambling under the law.

Why is fantasy football a game of skill? It's ... not entirely clear. Evaluating player and team statistics — and making judgments based on that analysis — certainly requires specific knowledge. You could probably say the same for more traditional gambling platforms like horse racing and poker. But it doesn't really matter. Under the law, right now, it's considered one.

Without the same government oversight that comes with running a traditional casino or other gambling operation, daily fantasy sports could be vulnerable to hacking, cheating, insider betting, and other such bad behavior that potentially makes the contests lopsided, unfair, and not-as-advertised.

Conventional gambling outfits certainly aren't always beacons of honesty and fairness even with oversight, but right now, daily fantasy sports are subject to none. And that's a problem.

3. Gambling is a big public health issue, which is rarely addressed.

Slot machines. Photo by Philippe Lopez/Getty Images.

To hear representatives from DraftKings and FanDuel tell it, daily fantasy sports are not gambling. Which — as today's New York Times report makes clear — is news to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who launched the most recent investigation of the sites:

"The attorney general's office said daily fantasy sports 'appears to be creating the same public health and economic problems associated with gambling.'"

More casinos are closer to more Americans than ever before. Studies estimate 1.1-1.9% of the population — between 3.5 and 6 million people — suffers from some form of gambling addiction. And low-income Americans are particularly vulnerable, as their losses can be far more catastrophic. Many experts believe that, as a potential source of addiction, fantasy sports are indistinguishable from other forms of gambling. Now that they're available at the click of a button, the barrier to entry is suddenly extremely low, and the potential to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars is high.

Fantasy sports can be fun and harmless — but more oversight is a good thing.

For those who play — and even place the odd bet here and there — fantasy sports can be a rewarding hobby. Gambling a little bit of money with your friends or even random strangers on the Internet is fun! But betting through an easily hackable, unregulated system where employees might have access to information that you don't? Not to mention one that can be an emotionally and financially devastating if abused?

Seems like it might be a good idea to stay away until a few more rules are put in place.

Taking a look under the hood of the industry is long overdue. Hopefully, a thorough investigation can make the system fairer, more transparent, and, most importantly, work better for everyone.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
popular

Funny how a 'new' male problem is a very old problem for women. Amy Poehler explains.

Not many people are brave enough to talk back to the guy who co-created "Chappelle's Show" when he says something kinda clueless. But not many people are Amy Poehler.

Men struggle to comprehend the pressures women feel. The same is true of women!

Gah! We'll never get along.

This conversation between comedian Neal Brennan and Amy Poehler is a pretty good example of how hard it can be to figure life out sometimes.

Neal, the genius who co-created "Chappelle's Show," sat down with Amy for his show "The Approval Matrix." The topic? WHAT are men supposed to be now? Cool? Adorkable? Both? Neither?

Keep Reading Show less
via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

Keep Reading Show less