If there is one thing the gambling industry can count on, it is America’s passion for gambling. The Americans absolutely love to wager on sporting events even though they are not permitted to do so by law. This will not stop them from illegally betting an estimated $95 billion on football this season. However, there is a convenient loophole in the form of fantasy sports, and the Americans are using it to bet legally on their favourite sports, albeit through fantasy teams. Fantasy betting companies handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money so far this year, which shows exactly how popular this activity is and why.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was passed in 2006 banned sports betting, but ignored fantasy sports because the latter was not considered big enough. In addition, a case was made that fantasy sports were not just games of luck, but of skill, because of which betting was permitted.
Companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel have established themselves in the US fantasy sports market, although there are many more companies in operation. DraftKings has partnered with ESPN and NASCAR, in addition to the major sports leagues in America. The start of the NFL season means that the gambling industry is going to be buzzing. In fact, the massive ad spends of gambling companies should be enough to indicate how much business these companies expect to do.
Surprisingly, a few states have held back from declaring fantasy sports a legal activity. These states-Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington-have certain legal restrictions that make online gambling unlawful. Interestingly, there are a few more states where the legal status of online gambling on fantasy sports is not very clear cut. According to legal experts, these companies are messing with the law in certain states, especially when it comes to certain formats of the game.
Louisiana has a law dating back to 1997, which does not permit gambling using a computer. The state has another law dating to 2007, which outlaws betting on fantasy sports. In fact, the state has a punishment that includes a six month jail term, in addition to a fine of $500 for anyone convicted of betting on fantasy sports. As a result, residents of this state are not permitted to gamble through one of the many websites that offer the service. The casino lobby in the state is very powerful and it is blocking all attempts to legalise fantasy sports wagering.
The five states that have clearly outlawed gambling on fantasy sports are, for obvious reasons, given a wide berth by the companies that deal in this service. There is plenty of business to be availed from the other states where it is legal, and so, they have no desire to get on the wrong side of the law. The ones who lose out on the opportunity to have a great deal of fun and perhaps win some money are the residents of the state. The situation will only change if the state softens its hard stand on online gambling.