Fantasy Football: It’s Like Online Poker All Over Again

There has been plenty in the news recently about online fantasy sports betting. Sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have made headlines in the past few months, and not the kind they would prefer.

Besides the pending litigation against the sites in places like New York, many reports have started to uncover just how poorly the average player has been doing on these sites. Many losing thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Also, like any high stakes venture, there will always be sharks who are there to rake in the big dollars.

The question is this: If we had the same tracking for casinos or even scratch-off lotto tickets, would they all garner the same headlines?

With the recent Powerball Jackpot reaching an astonishing $1.6 billion, people were lined up by the hundreds to take a shot at the big prize. Every reporter was ready to ask what the folks standing in line would buy with their would-be riches. There were few reports if any on how much cash average people were actually shelling out. Many were not buying a $2 ticket with the hope of glory, but instead spending upwards of $100 to get as many chances as they could. Who can blame them? The thought of all that easy money.

So how is fantasy sports any different? The state and federal government isn’t getting their piece. Many lotteries in the US are state run and often tout that revenue from the gaming goes to things like education. Casinos? Some are state owned enterprises all together while others are just giant sources of tax revenue for the surrounding areas. But Fantasy Sports? Besides paying the obvious income taxes and such which are associated with any business, the government just isn’t getting enough of the action.

The whole situation sounds like the online poker boom all over again.

Not knowing how to licence and tax the businesses, the federal government shut down online poker back in 2011. They pointed to people who were likely gambling away their homes, that were now safe to go back to their normal lives. That is until just recently when Las Vegas and New Jersey both legally began allowing internet poker once again.

People like to gamble. We always have and we always will. The majority of the population can do so without losing their house or car. But there will always be some who just go too far. The answer? Licence it. Tax it. Then make they companies involved do their due diligence of insuring the players know their limits.