FanDuel And DraftKings: Legal Or Illegal Sports Betting?

FanDuel and DraftKings have taken the fantasy sports world by storm over the last couple of years. Commercials for their one-week fantasy football leagues are literally everywhere. These commercials feature previous winners explaining the process, and how much money they have made as FanDuel and DraftKings players. As their popularity increases, more and more people are wondering if these one-week leagues are actually illegal sports gambling in disguise.

According to the Washington Post, fantasy football is considered a game of skill, as opposed to a game of chance. Since winners are not determined by mere chance, FanDuel and DraftKings are not considered online illegal sports betting venues. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey still believes the issue requires more review.

“Anyone who watched a game this weekend was inundated by commercials for fantasy sports,” Pallone said. “Despite how mainstream these sites have become, though, the legal landscape governing these activities remains murky and should be reviewed.”

DraftKings’ chief executive, Jason Robins, believes online fantasy sports are clearly legal, and his lawyers have made sure of it.

“Anyone who has taken the time to understand the law as it relates to DraftKings’ offerings, and anyone who has seen the data. . . on the skillfulness of the game, it’s really, honestly not a debate,” Robins said. “It’s clearly legal. And we have a team of great lawyers who watch everything we do.”

Analysts agree with Robins. Fantasy sports success comes down to skill, and the best players are winning most of the money. According to the Inquisitr, a small number of players are using advanced statistics and machine learning in order to create a huge mathematical advantage over the average player. Their analytics provide listings of the best possible lineups to use, all based on previous play, which allows them to enter each contest numerous times with a huge advantage.

Since players can obtain an advantage by their own research and skill, it would appear DraftKings and FanDuel are perfectly legal games of skill, and any appeal is likely to be lost. Regardless, poker is a game that is considered by many to be a game of skill. It is also illegal in many states and not regulated. It will be interesting to see how lawmakers treat poker and fantasy sports in the coming months and years.

The recent discussion over the legality of online fantasy sports has come from the huge visibility of the two leagues in question. According to Recode, DraftKings and FanDuel spent around $150 million in advertising alone in the previous three months. While both websites offer fantasy leagues for all sports including baseball, hockey, and basketball, the NFL remains the number one priority. Estimates show that around $50 million of that budget was spent during Week 1 of the NFL season. Considering every other commercial seems to be for FanDuel or DraftKings, we are not at all surprised.

Since both websites are very similar in the fact that they offer one-week fantasy leagues, each one offers a few unique features. Different payout minimum, entry fees, and top prizes are a few unique aspects that draw players to use both services. Until proven otherwise, DraftKings and FanDuel are both perfectly legal, and here to stay.

[Image via Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for DraftStreet]