Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fantasy Island

Looking for a quick way to pay back student loans? Turn on the television and you will likely see a commercial touting how much money can be won playing fantasy football. I  don't know the first thing about picking players or any of the rules of the game, but I must admit the commercials grabbed my attention. Likewise, these winnings have come to the attention of lawmakers, which has fueled a lively debate of chance vs. skill; gambling vs. entertainment.

Gambling is regulated at both the federal and state level. According to 31 U.S.C. § 5362, bets or wagers occur when the opportunity to win is predominantly subject to chance, but  subsection (1)(E)(ix) states that bets or wagers do not include participation in fantasy sports if certain conditions are met. Personally, I thought this would fall under online gambling, which I thought was illegal.

A few states have taken to the courts to decide the issue. This is not surprising, given the amount of revenue at stake. One of FanDuel's leagues promises a payout of roughly $2.25 million each weekend. In Massachusetts, which recently awarded its first casino licenses, category 1 resort- casinos are set to be taxed at 25% of gross gaming revenue.
If I were a betting woman, I'd say the odds are in favor of the states. Care to wager a bet? 

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