In the UK, Fantasy Football is considered as a staple of online gameplay and one that delivers fun, interaction and the promise of huge prizes to participants. It is arguably even bigger in the U.S, however, where operators have also introduced a number of variations including increasingly popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games.
The games are similar to Fantasy Football in that they enable participants to compete for prizes by building a team of professional athletes from a particular sport, league or competition, while earning points based on the statistical performance of each individual. The difference is that DFS games are hosted over a much shorter period, including a month, a week or just a single day of competition.
This type of gaming remains a huge source of debate in the U.S, however, with some sates keen to ban them due to their supposed links to online gambling. This practice is largely frowned upon in North America, with just three of the 50 states having passed bills to legalise online gambling since the mid-1990’s. The State Attorney General of New York (Eric Schneiderman) is the latest to have his say, calling for sites to stop accepting bets from New Yorkers as they are currently ‘evading the law’ and contravening state legislation concerning virtual gambling.
The question that remains is whether DFS games represent games of skill or purely chance? They are currently classed by law as games of skill, which is why they remain legal nationwide and accessible to an army of players. Schneiderman has joined the legions of those who claim that it is a game of chance, however, where selections are heavily influenced by the price of individual players, spending limits and individual club restrictions. The impact of unforeseen injuries , suspensions and squad rotation decisions are also outside the remit of players, forcing them to rely on a myriad of factors that they cannot control (especially over the course of a single week or game week).
While it would be fair to surmise that DFS games require a small amount of skill (or at least knowledge) and a large portion of luck, however, it needs to be compared with games currently classed as opportunistic and illegal. Take Poker, for example, which is a key staple of Casino online platforms and banned in many states throughout the U.S. Despite this, it arguably boasts a far higher level of skill and strategy than DFS games, while experienced players are also able to control a higher volume of factors that influence their success or failure. The advantage of a professional poker player over an beginner is also marked, where as DFS participants are able to compete on a more even keel regardless of their experience levels.
Interestingly, the legality of DFS and Fantasy Football games has long been used by online poker players as an argument for making their sport legal in the modern age. After all, even if you debate the individual levels of skill and chance required to succeed in both games, it is hard to argue with the notion that if DFS gameplay is legal then online poker should follow suit.