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Recent Regulations Threaten Fantasy Sports in NJ


Fantasy sports platforms such as FanDuel and Draftkings are relatively new to the public, as they were founded within the decade and became hugely popular in the past 2 years.

Summary of how the apps work:

These apps host daily and weekly contests for multiple sports including the NFL, NBA, PGA, MLS, NHL, etc. Customers deposit a certain amount of money (minimum $25) and can choose which contests they would like to participate in and at what entry fee. There are hundreds of contests per day over the range of different sports. Customers then given a $50,000 spending limit and must choose lineup of players from a selection of players involved in the selected sport that they think will perform well (for instance, if I chose NBA I can pick a team of up to 10 players, generally one player from each position, one PG, one Center, one PF and so on). The more skilled/better performing athletes “cost” more, so budgeting your money wisely is sometimes difficult.

Each sport is different, but customers can earn points based on how that player performs in that specific sport. For basketball, every point scored by a selected player earns the customer 1 point, every assist 1.5, every block 2 points, and so on. The points earned by all of your selected players are added up in real time and are pitted against the lineups of other customers. Cash prizes are assigned to a certain number of people based on their ranking (with more money going to higher ranked players, naturally).

NJ lawmaker Jim Whelan is seeking to regulate Fantasy Sports platforms (like Draftkings and FanDuel) the same way that online gambling companies are regulated because, simply put, he views these apps as gambling. He also argues that the mass amounts of money won by players could present the issue of insider information and corruption which makes the playing field unfair for some customers, but these are weightless claims as of now as there are no facts to back them up. NJ is the #2 gambling state in the country, so the restrictions on these sites in NJ would really hurt their revenues. It’s also important to note that Whelan is the former governor of Atlantic City and now the Senator representing the area.

These sites, along with dedicated customers, are fighting against these laws and claim that their sites are fair and skill-based. They claim that the customer must have a decent working knowledge on how sports work and must be up to date on performances of individual athletes.

Are fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and Draftkings gambling? Or are they skill-based as these companies claim? Could these older lawmakers have older, more dated views on what gambling means and possibly not understand the new technology for what it is and does?

Ben Profaci


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