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Daily Fantasy Sports Sites: Are They a Gateway to Legal Sports Betting?

Daily fantasy sports sites are cutting a very large path through the internet gambling market as more and more sports fans turn to them as an alternative to traditional wagering.

More importantly, these sites may be slowly chipping away at the American Government’s long-time sports betting prohibition.

Recently, several stories have emerged in the gambling press that not only confirm the growing importance of daily fantasy sites, but also suggest that they may be a tool in the push towards regulated sports betting.

Iowa OK’s Daily Fantasy Sports

One of the first questions most Americans ask about daily fantasy sports sites is, “How are they legal in the first place?”

They’re legal because fantasy sports are considered a game of skill, not a game of chance. That makes them perfectly acceptable under Federal law. (Why that same logic doesn’t apply to sports wagering is another question entirely.)

But even though the Feds are cool with fantasy sports, lawmakers in Iowa recently wrangled over the issue under the auspices of Senate Study Bill 1068 – which would allow casinos to offer the game.

The Bill passed into law despite the objections of State Senator David Johnson who said, “I understand that this has great popularity, but do we really need to legalize these activities, and what kind of a message does that send?”

(Probably the same message as any other kind of gambling, but that’s another argument, too.)

With Iowa leading the way, don’t be surprised to see more land-based casinos offering fantasy sports in the future.

DraftKings Partner with LA Clippers

In other daily fantasy sports news, DraftKings was recently named the Los Angeles Clippersofficial daily fantasy sports partner.

The deal is a pretty standard sponsorship arrangement, but for the fact that professional sports teams have long been loathe to have anything to do with gambling operators, no matter how legal a product they offer.

MLB Commissioner Talks Legalization

The rise of daily fantasy sports sites is no doubt adding to the slowly thawing attitudes of politicians and league executives toward regulated sports wagering.

Last week, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred joined NBA commish Adam Silver in suggesting that professional sports should take another look at legalization saying:

Gambling in terms of our society has changed its presence on legalization, and I think it’s important for there to be a conversation between me and the owners about what our institutional position will be.

Now whether Manfred and Silver actually follow up on these thoughts is yet to be determined.

Americans have loved gambling on sports since the country’s beginning and there’s little doubt that will change anytime soon.

Now, with daily fantasy sports sites growing in popularity, Yanks may be that much closer to indulging their passion in a legal setting.