A few years ago, I got my first Playbook which by the way is a terrific football preview guide put out by Marc Lawrence aka @MarcLawrence on Twitter. I still remember when it arrived in the mailbox. I had been looking forward to receiving it because the guys on the radio show talked about it all the time. Based on what the guys had discussed Marc’s Playbook was equivalent to the bible of sports betting and if you wanted to know which team was worthy of investment, you would want to get your copy. [By the way, I saved my the copy because Marc Lawrence had taken the time to write a personal message inside wherein he expressed appreciation for all of my tweets!]
From that point on, each time I headed back to Vegas, I made sure to pack my Playbook and I carried it everywhere. I can still recall being at the 24/7 cafe and meeting up with this guy from New York who happened to be a Knicks fan. I must have looked like a serious better because he asked me for betting advice. No doubt, he had likely seen my Playbook. [By the way, this guy keeps in touch with me often, and always takes the time to thank me for giving him advice to invest in Marc’s Playbook.]
So what does all have to do with sports betting, daily fantasy and breaking the law? Hold on, I’m getting to that. Before I do I wanted to mention that several years ago my best friend’s uncle, who happened to teach Science where I went to school, decided to give up teaching. I remember she said, “My Uncle Pauly is moving to Vegas to become a professional gambler.” Now at the time I was too young to grasp this monumental career choice. The only thing that registered was that a teacher who was pretty cool, and happened to be someone I knew personally because he was my friend’s uncle, would no longer be at school. I never gave much thought to his career choice. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time talking with professional sports bettors, this career choice makes perfect sense. I get it. He taught Science. What does that mean? Well, perhaps it means that he had a knack for placing a value on scientific data. What’s that got to do with sports betting daily fantasy, and breaking the law? Hold on, I’m getting to that.
Last night I happened to come across a tweet, and in it mentioned the main guy at Draft Kings addressed the questions about daily fantasy sports being sports betting. He mentioned that daily fantasy sports are similar to playing Chess, and a lot like trading stocks. Yes, I agree. In fact, I said this a few years ago as I sat in a coffee shop with one of the most respected handicappers in Vegas. I expressed that I didn’t really get why people were so uptight about sports betting. I mean people make educated guesses all the time, and then anything can happen. When it comes to investing in a public company, for example, the company has a responsibility to share information in an annual report and then earnings statements. The information is to be made public. Everything the company knows about its bottom line must be shared and anything that could impact the future earnings of the company must be disclosed. Those who wish to invest in the company would be wise to read the annual report, including all the notations made by the accountant. Investing in the company that has a stellar financial picture is no guaranty that you will make money on your investment. Anything can happen because no matter how much homework you have done, investing in a company is still a gamble.
Some may not agree that investing in stocks is equivalent to gambling per se. That person might not define gambling in a similar way that others do. Somewhere around here I have a dictionary, which likely contains the definition of the term gamble. Definitions can only help so much though. One person’s gamble is another person’s fantasy and depending upon your operational definition of what it means to gamble one might say that prudent investing is not gambling. Others might disagree. Words are tricky, and many have more than one definition or are defined by abstract terms. that’s part of what makes laws so challenging and interesting. When it comes to the law, and what makes something legal or not, it’s safe to say it’s complicated. One might interpret the definition of gamble to be ‘take risky action in the hope of a desired result’ because that’s a definition online. Others might look to redefine the term, or find another dictionary with a slightly different definition. Who can say who’s right? Well, very often that’s a job for the men and women in black aka our Supreme Court.
So let’s think about that for a moment. Or you can skip this part and go get coffee because we’re about to dissect a definition. Welcome to my world!
By the way, if I have not lost you yet, I might lose you now, but please try to hold on just one more sec. I have an affinity for words! Okay, seriously definitions can be abstract because of the term ‘risky’ is subjective, right? You get it! One man’s ‘risky business’ is another man’s ‘sure bet’…. I’m such an abstract girl. This is why I cried for hours when I had to take Stats!
Getting back to sports betting, daily fantasy and breaking the law, I am not adverse to daily fantasy sports being legal. I have absolutely no problem with that. However, I am averse to having daily fantasy sports are legal if sports gambling are illegal. You simply cannot have it both ways. I know about the reasons fantasy sports are protected under the law. That’s irrelevant to me. I say this because there is so many things that used to be illegal that are now legal, and other things that once were legal that are now against the law. C’mon I didn’t spend all this money for an education in public policy/law to have walked away without any knowledge. Laws are written and many times they evolve. So anyone who says that daily fantasy sports are legal because of some federal protection, although speaking factually, might be choosing to ignore the reality that this protection was put in place before the games had changed.
So what’s the answer? Well, getting back to Marc Lawrence and his Playbook it might interest you to know that this year’s edition has daily fantasy sports stats. It might also interest you to know that some of the best sports bettors in the country have graduated from some of the finest universities. Take Andy Iskoe for example. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Others have spent several years educating themselves about the games, the players, and the odds. So when the CEO of a fantasy site tells you that those who play fantasy sports are geeks and nerds who use skill, ask yourself if my friend’s uncle would likely be someone to be considered in that group.
It’s not that sports betting and daily fantasy sports are not both subject to an element of luck. Nor is it that one involves skill and the other involves luck. To think this way is limiting. As far as why one is legal and the other is illegal in many parts of the country, well that’s just because laws often have a way of being passed after they are required. So which way will it go? It might just stay the way it is — but it’s doubtful. Eventually there will be legislators who realize that sports betting are every bit as risky as investing in Twitter.
a degenerate case is a limiting case in which an element of a class of objects is qualitatively different from the rest of the class and hence belongs to another, usually simpler class. Degeneracy is the condition of being a degenerate class. A degenerate case thus has special features, which depart from the properties that are generic in the wider class, and which would be lost under an appropriate small perturbation. [see wikipedia]