Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Legal questions arise for fantasy day game biz

By
August 26, 2014 |

Some of the newest incarnations of fantasy football look a lot more like gambling than intricate, outsmart-your-opponent strategy games.

Since 2011, the billion-dollar fantasy market has been infused with dozens of daily and weekly games. Those games allow players to win huge prizes quickly, sometimes in one week, sometimes in just one night. With players betting thousands or even tens of thousands a night, legal experts believe it’s time to review the section of the 2006 federal law that was written specifically to protect fantasy sports from being banned the way online poker was.

“There’s importance in clarifying the law,” says Marc Edelman, a professor at Fordham Law School who studies the law as it applies to fantasy sports. “As long as there’s uncertainty about the legality of these games, some potential businesses that might enter the marketplace stay out.”

Seasonal leagues are largely the domain of billion-dollar companies such as CBS and ESPN, with close ties to the NFL. For now, they have remained on the sidelines of the short-term business, leaving it largely in the hands of companies such as FanDuel, which is expecting to triple its base to 500,000 fans this season.

“We have the most popular fantasy football game going,” said Kevin Ota of ESPN, which boasts an estimated 14 million fantasy players. “It’s been incredibly successful, and we’re focused on improving our game every year. We always keep our eye on opportunities to serve sports fans better.”

ESPN officials say they have no immediate plans for weekly cash games.

Traditional leagues at ESPN and elsewhere received their legal clearance from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was designed mainly to stop internet poker. It included an important “carve out” for fantasy football. Meanwhile, most state laws define fantasy football as skill-based propositions, which keeps them legal.

“It’s an easy argument with season-long games because you exercise a great deal of skill in operating a team,” said Las Vegas-based attorney Tony Cabot, who has practiced gambling law for three decades. “You have to figure out who to draft, play, trade and all those things to have a successful season. And because you’re doing all that, you’re betting on an outcome you can control.”

The day-game world can be much different and the skill level needed to “run” a team that exists for only one week is far lower than that for a season-long enterprise.

And a growing number of fantasy sites have games that “look very much like prop bets or parlay cards,” Cabot says, with some games as simple as paying an “entry” fee, then choosing who, between two players, will finish a certain day with more receiving yards.

“It depends on how you run your game,” Cabot said. “If you said, ‘We’re going to do fantasy, quick pick, random drafts,’ I say, ‘How can that be skill based?’ But if it’s a daily game where you’re doing a draft, have the ability to change players halfway through the game and make all these decisions, then it’s much closer to a traditional model.”

In 2007, Cabot co-authored a legal paper titled “Fantasy Sports: One Form of Mainstream Wagering in the United States.” It offers a point-by-point deconstruction of the federal law that essentially legalized a growing industry that, to some, looks very much like gambling. One of Cabot’s key points is that the NFL, seeing the revenue and viewership possibilities of fantasy football, hired a well-paid lobbyist who helped smooth the way for an imperfect bill to become law.

Cabot’s conclusion is that the process “ultimately has done a great disservice to reasoned policymaking and, potentially, to the long-term future of the fantasy sports industry itself.”

He counts the growing day-game business as one area especially susceptible to confusion. Edelman agrees.

“One can argue whether the fantasy sports carve out applies to the short-duration game, given that, at the time the (federal law) was passed, there was no such thing as daily fantasy sports,” Edelman said.

Day games didn’t get much traction until 2011 — five years after the law was passed.

The games are pretty much unregulated, and they are exploding. They allow anyone over 18 to gamble on sports outcomes online, while traditional sports gambling is available online only in Nevada and, in some forms, in Delaware. The laws in the states take precedence over the federal law and they vary, most of them basing the legality of a game on how much of it is predicated on skill vs. chance. Last year, a federal court in Illinois dismissed a lawsuit alleging day games were games of chance.

A few of the bigger media players — most notably USA Today and Sports Illustrated — have gotten into the day-game business, seeing ample opportunity in an industry that drew an $11 million investment from Comcast Ventures, which plunked the money into FanDuel last year.

Meanwhile, the NFL, which did not respond to questions emailed by The Associated Press, keeps watching the numbers swell, while walking the line between using fantasy football to grow its game and maintaining its long-held, hard-line stance against anything perceived as gambling.

“Part of the problem with entrepreneurial endeavors on the internet is that some people push the envelope and some cross the line,” Cabot said. “Until there’s some sort of enforcement action on some level, I think you’ll see them keep pushing that line out further and further.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8

 
Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Breaking news ‘facts’ worthy of note

By Jack Batson | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

‘Letterman’ cue card man fired for colleague clash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7