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Daily fantasy sports: gambling or games?

Michael Wilkins, Staff Writer

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Another day, another lawsuit it seems for the world of daily fantasy sports. This time, the state of Illinois is entering the fray, as the state Gaming Board is seeking a ruling on whether industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings are breaking the law by hosting daily contests.

In these events, players add real-life players from any team onto their own squad, then points are totaled based on those player’s individual performance. Players can compete against the public or their friends in private leagues. Winnings range from one dollar to millions. Like with most games involving cash, players on average lose more than they win.

Both sites regard their ploy as a “game of skill” instead of chance, making a gambling license unnecessary for operation.

Illinois law prevents citizens from engaging in “a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value”. The inclusion of online skill games as illegal voids industry arguments.

This clause will presumably cause Illinois to join Montana, Louisiana, Washington, Iowa, Nevada, and Arizona in outlawing these games. Free contests such as the ones offered by ESPN and NFL.com will still be legal because players do not risk their own money for entry.

Once the question of legality is settled, pundits will wonder, “Why?”. The cases for both sides are pretty clear cut.

Supporters emphasize how entertaining the games are. They discuss how competing compliments watching the games on television. Of course, winning money is pretty sweet too.

Detractors point to the fact that for many, daily fantasy is a losing proposition. They also argue that the same effect can be garnered from free contests. There is no need to swindle the populous out of their hard-earned money when there are better options.

The future of daily fantasy sports is murky at best. If most states outlaw the games, the companies running them may not make a large enough profit to justify continuing business.

Whatever happens to the for-cash games, free contests will offer a happy medium for friends to compete without attacking each other’s wallet.

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The student news site of Geneva Community High School in Geneva, Illinois
Daily fantasy sports: gambling or games?