Playing daily fantasy sports is like dating a gold-digger: a night of subsidized debauchery for a week of bumming gas money from your little brother.

Gambling is a powerful beast of an economic burden — a cross-pollination of emotional investments and poor decision making — that continues to blur the line between legal and illegal activities in professional sports.

Sports and gambling coexist like church and state: separate but equal.

But separate because nobody wants to admit the paradoxical reality of the matter. Which is this:

The federal government says betting on DFS is legal and does not qualify as gambling.

Daily Fantasy Sports

The devil went down to DC looking for a dollar to steal…

How did this all come about?

Look no further than the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006.

Three years before the industry of daily fantasy sports even existed, federal legislation unintentionally allowed a daily fantasy sports eruption; providing new and inventive sponsorship deals and investment dollars for the leagues, the teams and their broadcasting partners.

The purpose of the legislation was this: shut down sports books and online poker in the US. But a certain sub-section of the permission allowed for the “online fantasy leagues”.

As long as the league met the criteria (established prizes in advance of the competition, reflect relative skill and knowledge of the sport not based on a score, point spread, team or athlete) then it passed as legal.

Not included in the criteria?

A time element. Boom. Enter daily fantasy sports.

Almost a decade later, the laws put in place to prevent legalized gambling could result in a brand spanking new industry of legalized sports gambling.

And that’s exactly what big-league owners and commissioners want, no need, to happen.

Let’s take a look at the following quotes from current and former league commissioners.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

“We oppose legalized sports gambling. We haven’t changed our position on that, and I don’t anticipate us changing that going forward at all.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred:

“We spent a lot of time and a lot of money making sure we understood exactly what the law is and where the line between fantasy and illegal gambling falls. We analyzed the games that DraftKings offer. We got comfortable with the idea that those games were on the right side of the line in terms of what the federal law is now.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern

“If they’re going to do it, you might as well join with them.”

So the NFL opposes legalized sports gambling. The MLB admits that the line between fantasy and illegal gambling is dependent solely on federal law. And the NBA says, hell, if the consumer wants to gamble legally or illegally, we might as well join them.

It’s all just people playing politics. So is, the perpetual loop of modern capitalism.

Section 15 of the standard NFL player contract, “INTEGRITY OF GAME,” allows for the fine, suspension, or termination of a contract for any player if he accepts a bribe or agrees to throw or fix an NFL game, bets on an NFL game or knowingly associates with gamblers or gambling activity.

So then why does the NFL allow the Buffalo Bills and its other clubs to have individual sponsorship deals with FanDuel?

Daily Fantasy Sports

Because DFS is not considered gambling, yet.

Just like the NFL, the NBA has a four year agreement with FanDuel that includes a percentage of the company.

Because DFS is not considered gambling, yet.

Don’t leave out the MLB. America’s past time has a juicy equity stake with Edward Norton. I mean Draft Kings.

Because DFS is not considered gambling, yet.


If the daily fantasy sports industry is deemed legalized sports gambling by federal law, then the existing bylaws of each sports organization will blow up in the faces of the commissioners and owners that created the rules and regulations in the first place.

 The game of lawsuits has already begun. But taking into account the track record of past lawsuits involving major league sports, let’s assume federal law decides DFS isn’t gambling.

Then what?

We counter with a temporary solution.

For the people by the people.

3 Ways to Fix the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry

  1. We need to stop being stupid about gambling.

Let’s face the facts. By any reasonable definition of the term, DFS is gambling. Risk your money based on a subjective assessment of factors and odds to win or lose.

In the gambling world, those who don’t stand a chance are known as “dead money.”

For the bottom-feeders (which is roughly 90% of the industry), DFS is essentially offering something for nothing.

  1. The league and the teams belonging to them need to get out of bed with the industry.

Remove the fantasy sport zones in stadiums and the giant ads cluttering up the arena walls.

This goes double for the broadcast partners.

If you run a sports network and you invest in DFS (which spends millions advertising on your various programs, then were all just haggling the price here).

And if all else fails…

  1. Let Bill Burr have his way with the entire situation on live television in front of Congress.

Who would have thought a completely unregulated, multi-billion dollar industry wouldn’t be good for our democracy or our economy?