Skill or luck: What is fantasy sports about?

Fantasy Sports were born in the late 1950s when Wilfred Winkenbach devised a way to list and choose preferred players from a roster in Fantasy Golf.

Fantasy Sports were born in the late 1950s when Wilfred Winkenbach devised a way to list and choose preferred players from a roster in Fantasy Golf. In the 1960s, Harvard sociologist William Gamson came up with the idea of what he called “Baseball Seminar” where students and colleagues could create rosters of baseball players who would earn points and climb the roster higher depending on their performances.

And since then, Fantasy Sports has grown at exponential rate. With the advent of internet, this growth has turned explosive and today, 10% of US population or 33 million and counting are daily indulging in fantasy sports.

But along with its growth, a question that overshadowed the world of fantasy sports was “Is betting on fantasy sports legal?”.

It was natural to have this question since the advent of paid seasonal game formats and grew pertinent with introduction of weekly and daily game formats which allowed users to engage in short term, quick pace games and winnings.

The question of whether fantasy sports is gambling or not was finally settled when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 included "carve out" language that clarified the legality of fantasy sports. As sourced from official Fantasy Sports Trade Association (of which Vinfotech is a member) Research Section :

“The bill specifically exempts fantasy sports games, educational games or any online contest that "has an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants, or their skill at physical reaction or physical manipulation (but not chance), and, in the case of a fantasy or simulation sports game, has an outcome that is determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of sporting events, including any non-participant's individual performances in such sporting events..."

Additionally, the bill enunciates on exempting as follows:

"participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game or educational game or contest in which (if the game or contest involves a team or teams) no fantasy or simulation team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional sports organisation and meets the following conditions:

  • All prizes and awards offered to winning participants are established and made known to the participants in advance of the game or contest and their value is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid by participants.
  • All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals (athletes in the case of sports events) in multiple real-world sporting or other events.
  • No winning outcome is based:
    • On the score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single real world team or any combination of such teams; or
    • Solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single real-world sporting or other event."

In addition, Fantasy Sports are supported in spirit by Major League Baseball as well as National Football league, to the extent that both organizations help market Fantasy Sports to consumers via their official websites.

Not to mention almost all major media companies in the U.S., wary of even a hint of association with sports gambling, openly support and provide promotion to fantasy sports, such as Yahoo!, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS and NBC!

As a finally note, do remember. FSTA assures and backs the fact that no fantasy sports company has EVER been a subject of prosecution for gambling.

Vinfotech is a web design and development firm based in San Francisco and India. We provide expertise in various engagement models for Fantasy League web development and sports web design. If you’re a Fantasy Sports startup looking for a brilliant execution of your idea, give us a call.

About Vinfotech

Vinfotech creates world’s best fantasy sports-based entertainment, marketing and rewards platforms for fantasy sports startups, sports leagues, casinos and media companies. We promise initial set of real engaged users to put turbo in your fantasy platform growth. Our award winning software vFantasy™ allows us to build stellar rewards platform faster and better. Our customers include Zee Digital, Picklive and Arabian Gulf League.

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