Should online daily fantasy sports be considered illegal?

BrettImage.png

By: Brett Levenstein

Copy Edited by: Lizbeth Yorio and Sean Cotnam

Research Edited by: Sean Cotnam

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

One of the most hotly debated laws in recent memory is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006  .[1] This internet gaming bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush, made most online gambling, such as online poker, illegal. An exception was made for online daily fantasy sports because lawmakers concluded that these games require skill rather than luck. This exemption became controversial as many do not believe this allowance should have been permitted.

This debate was sparked by a 2015 scandal involving two of the major online daily fantasy websites, DraftKings and FanDuel. It was revealed to the public in print, broadcast, and electronic media that these two websites employed workers who, “were placing bets using information not generally available to the public”.[2] These employees would take inside knowledge that they collected from working for one of these companies, and use it to place bets on a rival company’s website. Having access to which players were most selected for lineups provided the employees with a huge advantage when wagering on a competitor’s website.

This fraudulent activity lead to outrage across the country regarding whether or not these fantasy sports websites should, in fact, be legal under  .[3] In addition, many others are infuriated that a majority of the money won from fantasy gaming websites is claimed by the top 1% of players.[4] If such large sums are claimed by a minority of players, should these websites be legal?

Why should they be legal?

Fantasy games require skill to be successful. It takes a lot of work to select the perfect lineup. Each player’s strengths and weaknesses must be evaluated to determine if each player should be selected to start— past performances, injuries, team records— among other things that need to be considered. This is why there is such a large gap between who wins and who loses at fantasy games. Those who conduct the most research and take the most factors into account when forming their teams, tend to win the most. While those who only pick fantasy players, based upon their favorite or home team, tend to lose. Therefore, it would make sense that the top percentage of money makers continue to win the most, as these users tend to be the most skilled at selecting players.

But what about the luck involved?

There is a huge part of online daily fantasy games that involves luck. The person who is placing the bet has no control over the outcome. They are completely relying on other people’s performance in sports to win them money. There is also the possibility that someone could select a lineup full of random players and still win. This circumstance would obviously demonstrate a lucky guess rather than skill. These situations all support the idea that online fantasy games are games of chance, and thus should be considered illegal under current gambling law.

The major caveat

There is one major caveat to the entire scenario. Currently, online daily fantasy games run without congressional regulations. The online gaming websites have the ability to police themselves. Self-regulation leads to the possibility of more improper conduct, similar to the scheme that emerged in 2015. Many congressmen, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, have argued that the lack of regulation in this industry is dangerous, and leaves the door open for insider trading and cheating.[5] Congress is considering regulations to make sure that fantasy gaming websites fall under their control to prevent further scandals.

The bottom line:

Online daily fantasy sports are a game of skill, and consequently legal under The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. While there is a component of the games that is random luck of the draw, it takes skill in order to select the best possible lineup in order to consistently win.

 

 

Advertisements

The Damage of the Game

stadium american

By: Dominique Croons

Copy Edited By: Lizbeth Yorio, Anna Salomon Pasapera

Research Edited By: Jared Bernhardt

A dangerous game

The nation’s favorite football game has now come with a price.  Along with the victory of scoring a touchdown or winning the Super bowl, there is a tragic end. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, is a disease that is commonly found in former or current football players.  CTE is the result from multiple concussions or blows to the head. According to Protect the Brain.Org, CTE is described as “a progressive degenerative disease which afflicts the brain of people who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, such as athletes who take part in contact sports, members of the military, and others.” More than 30 football players have been diagnosed with this disease. Even though new rules and regulations have been put in place for the NFL, these new precautions cannot stop this drastic and life changing disease from occurring overtime.

For the love of the game

Although new information has been researched about CTE and new rules and regulations have been put in place, there is still an opposing side to this: the players.  According to the USA Today article ‘some NFL players still willing to hide concussions’ by Howard Fendrich many of the football players refuse to tell the coach or physical trainer that they have a concussion.  They shake it off and continue to play even though there is a dangerous and fatal outcome.  Maurice Jones-Drew states in the article “Hide it”, when asked if he would play with a concussion or decide to sit out.  He continues his response stating that “You have to be able to put food on the table. No one’s going to sign or want a guy who can’t stay healthy. I know there will be a day when I’m going to have trouble walking. I realize that”.  Like Maurice, many other football players agree that this is what they signed up for and they know the benefits and effects of the game.

The innocent ones

The people that are most affected by this critical and life threatening disease is the innocent ones: the families.   Most of these families are collateral damage when it comes to football players diagnosed with CTE.   Most of these football players are deceased mostly because of suicide.  According to an article in Buffalo News called ‘NFL players, families are coming to grips of the dangers of repeat concussions’ written by Jerry Sullivan, many players are worried about the surrounding people that are being affected by this.  The article states “So deep down, even while laughing off the possibilities, the current players worry.  They worry about their families”.  Most of these football players, some who are first time fathers, are afraid that this game will take so much out of them that they won’t be able to play with their kids after the game or career is over.   Fred Jackson a running back for the New England Patriots state in the article “My wife is the one who really, really worries about it. But it’s the game I love to play, and I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure that isn’t me”.  Although some players take precaution when it comes to concussions, their families still worry deeply about what can possibly happen.

A college student opinion

As Brian Westbrook’s, a former NFL Eagles running back, little cousin, hearing news like this is very effecting.  Of course I heard many times “the love of the game” or “football isn’t what I do, it’s who I am”. I soon realized that football players do know about the information; they just don’t care about it.  Although an unhealthy player is very crucial in any professional sport, the greater outcome of this disease is more serious than a game.  Football players need to be mature and responsible and own up to their concussions so that they can get better not only for themselves but for the people around them.  I also think that there should be more rules and regulations about concussions in the NFL because it has become a serious problem. Players need to understand there is a life after football.

Should the NCAA Pay College Athletes?

maggie

By: Maggie McPherson

Copy edited by: Kevin Qiao and Stefon Wynter

Research Edited by: Stefon Wynter

Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones

College athletes make billions of dollars for the NCAA, which begs the question: Why don’t they get payed? Some think college athletes should be amateurs, while other thinks they should be treated as professionals. Regardless, it seems to be that college athletes are beginning to minimize their time in the NCAA in order to move on to the pros, where they can get paid for their efforts. This could cause sports fans to grow disinterested in college sports as the major stars begin to leave earlier and earlier. So, how can the NCAA implement a new system that treats athletes more fairly, while still maintaining the amateur spirit of college sports?

Don’t Ruin the Spirit of the Game

There are a few ideas floating around that try to answer this question. Many college sports fans believe the athletes shouldn’t be paid. This attitude is most common among college alumni. According to Kurt Scott, in his article “Breaking Down Why the NCAA Absolutely Must Pay Exploited Athletes,” this is because they feel a sort of “nostalgia” for their college days and like to think the athletes they watch are living the way they did.[1] So, instead of paying them, why not just increase the other benefits? They already often get free tuition, tutoring, fitness training, meals etc., so just give them a little more. In fact, many think that is the best plan of action. Howard P. Chudacoff of The Wall Street Journal, in his article “Let’s Not Pay College Athletes,” argues that although athletes do not get an actual salary, they get paid enough through scholarships and other benefits.[2] Chudacoff believes the athletes are already undeservedly treated like royalty, and paying them would only add to such treatment.

Additionally, there are complications of who should pay the athletes, the colleges? Or the NCAA? Convincing the NCAA to surrender money would be a difficult task, but many colleges simply can’t afford to pay their athletes, or at least, not as well as some of the richer colleges out there. There is the difficulty of creating an imbalance in the competition as all the star players would be pulled to the richest colleges.

Work Hard, Get Paid

On the other side, those who are more involved with the athletes usually wants to throw all these arguments out the window. They find that all the arguments against paying them pale in comparison to the mere fact that the athletes do the work, and yet the NCAA gets the pay. Scott argues that most college athletes put in about three hour practices every day, on top of games and work outs. He claims they have no time to study, making scholarships useless. The athletes may get some fame and some extra fun, but that is not much and does not last, especially for the athletes not headed for the pros. Many athletes end up with an awful education, no money, and no future.

So, pay them what they want, pay them what they need, and pay them what they deserve. In response to the problem of the imbalance of competition due to the imbalance of available funds, Joe Nocera suggests minimum and maximum salary caps in his article for The New York Times, “Let’s Start Paying Athletes.”[3] Some even take a more radical approach and say that colleges sports should separate from the college and create their own program. Louis Barbash, a writer for The Washington Monthly, is one advocate for this approach. She claims the athletic programs should be run similarly to university hospitals. The teams would remain affiliated with the colleges but would still be independent. The NCAA could pay them and treat them as professionals. Unfortunately, this approach essentially throws the old college student-athlete feel out the window.

So, What?

It has become increasingly clearer that the NCAA should change something if they want to survive, and paying the athletes seems to be the only plausible solution.  Overall it seems that the athletes deserve to be paid, and if the NCAA wants to continue attracting players, they’re going to have to compensate them for their work.