Have of everything is luck- James Bond, from the movie Golden Eye

The other night the president and founder of a fantasy sports site was on the radio talking about how, in response to the recent scandal in the fantasy sports industry, the company is now going to provide transparency on its site.  From now on those who sign up at “Own the Play” [www.owntheplay.com ] will know which players others have drafted, as far as percentages.  In other words, you will be able to tell that “Player X” of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the most sought after player by those playing fantasy sports.  This information will be made available before a person makes their selections.

Although I value this information, and I commend the company for responding to the scandal by offering up some information, what I do not understand is how this makes that much of a difference.  How does this “revolutionize the fantasy sports industry?  I’m confused.  Isn’t this information that would have been easily obtained from other resources, and how does it provide full transparency or disclosure?  What am I missing?

I admit I am not one of the fantasy sports insiders but I have been following the industry and been paying pretty close attention.  That’s partly because I’m an advocate for legalized sports betting, especially in the State of New Jersey, where Atlantic City pales in comparison to the casinos in Vegas.  I’m in alignment with Nancy Armour, who writes for USA Today Sports and believe, “Fantasy sports is gambling, no matter how the industry tries to spin it.  But a loophole makes it legal, unlike most other forms of sports betting.”  I’m not in alignment with that reporter from the NY Times who thinks wagering on sports is going to be the ruin of all, and I have to wonder if that reporter is friends with Roger. 😉

As many people have come to understand the “legal loophole” exists because the protection that was afforded fantasy sports was done so because the games were thought to be predicated upon skill not luck, as opposed to sports betting which are thought to be contingent on luck.  Its not as though the legal protection was meant to protect those daily games.  That being said, it makes very little sense to me that people do not see how successful sports betting could be contingent upon skill.   Additionally,  fantasy sports could be contingent upon luck.  So far I see the two on par with one another.

Conceptually, I like fantasy sports.  ALthough I can appreciate the value of daily fantasy, I actually like season long leagues.  I think it’s fun to see how your team does, get to know the others in your league, and look forward to playoffs.  I think it was a mistake for the fantasy companies to over-saturate the sports world the way they did, and present ads that suggest the game of football is boring on its own.  The fact that Major League Baseball is a heavy investor in the fantasy sports industry and the ads suggest that the game of football is boring without the element of fantasy is a little bit ironic, don’t you think?

Another strange thing is the way Draft Kings and Fan Duel are always together.  I’m not sure what it is about these companies, but I feel as though they are have made a big mistake in advertising the way they did because people seem to be getting sick of seeing these ads and infomercials.  Pretty sure, Nancy Armour referred to the running of these ads as a “form of torture.” Again, I’m with Nancy!

On the plus side, in my opinion, the scandal in the fantasy sports industry has made wagering on sports seem like the better bet.  Armour (USA Today Sports, 10-7) reported that Maura Healy a Massachusetts attorney is said to be reviewing the legality of Draft Kings.  I have a feeling that Michael McCann, one of the top “Sports Law” attorneys who writes for Sports Illustrated and someone I interviewed last March, will also continue to keep a close eye on the fantasy sports industry.   My prediction, the fantasy industry will either become regulated or it will become seen like Publisher’s Clearing House.  If I were the founder of a fantasy sports site, and was running a legit operation, I’d be open to regulation because I want people to have complete trust in my business.  Then again, it’s not as though a government administrative agency is a full proof way to guarantee there won’t be collusion or corruption, but I think it’s more easily detected.

One thing for sure, I’m not an expert on sports betting or fantasy sports but I do have a pretty good understanding of both, as respects to one being legal and the other being illegal.  I want sports betting to be legal in the State of New Jersey and any other state that chooses this path.  Does that make me see differently? The fantasy sports industry should be regulated, and transparency should include a review of the financials and the policies.  Financial ratings similar to the insurance industry should be available to the public.  Additionally, sports betting should be legal in any state that deems this to be the will of the people because the fact of the matter is together we really do make football!

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