Risky business: fantasy sports only hurt your wallet
If you turn on a television, you will inevitably be subjected to an advertisement for a daily fantasy sports company such as DraftKings or Fanduel. We’ve all seen them, a bunch of dudes in a bar getting all hyped-up over some nonsense sports league they are in. These over-played ads highlight contestants who have supposedly won thousands upon thousands of dollars by participating in one-day fantasy leagues, hinting that you can do the same.
Participants in these leagues assemble teams of professional — or even collegiate— athletes, join a lobby and reap rewards dependent upon player performance.
Seems harmless, right?
Sites like Fanduel.com and Draftkings.com are enjoying the spoils that come with widespread popularity during the 2015 NFL season, and have even become sponsors of major sports hubs such as ESPN. All was well until recently, when government officials in New York deemed the practice of these companies as illegal sports betting. Originally ordered to stop business in New York immediately, the companies were granted a temporary pardon and remain active in the state.
Hitting closer to home now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reviewed the matter last week. Paxton released a statement that agreed with the ruling made by our friends in the north late last year. In his report, Paxton said “a person commits an offense if he or she makes a bet on the partial or final result of a game or contest or on the performance of a participant in a game or contest.” In layman’s terms, because participants are essentially putting money on the result of players’ performance that day or night, the way the sites operate is, in fact, illegal.
Daily fantasy sports’ popularity is at an all-time high. Professor of law Peter Linzer said that “hundreds of millions of dollars” are being invested in these leagues.
“I’ve read that while the ads show people winning big money, in fact, most players either lose their shirts or win a small amount,” Linzer said.
Theoretically it would be possible for a professional —or collegiate— athlete who is looking to make an extra buck, to potentially throw a match or not perform to the best of his or her ability to take home a check.
It’s scenarios like these that have been the driving force behind the implementation of strict rules prohibiting betting and gambling among the athletes and coaches in major professional sports.
“Major League Baseball, in particular, treats betting as a sin,” Linzer said.
Thankfully, as the legality of these sites has become questionable the annoying ads have become far less frequent.
It’s best to steer clear of these sites. College is a susceptible time, as many students are out on their own for the first time. Let it be known, anyone promising to help you make money fast is probably intending to do the exact opposite.
Opinion columnist Reagan Earnst is a print journalism junior and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org