Guess What: Gambling is Gambling

Patricia B. - LLI Dayton

Sitting there with your hands shaking, heart racing and your adrenaline rushing, you feel like you're on a high. You started out sitting in a chair, but every few seconds your jumping out of it, in either agitation or excitement, but those around you can't figure out which. You honestly can't tell if the odds are in your favor in this game of Russian Roulette, but you've got money riding on this game, so you better win. When you lose, you shake and scream at the machine, knowing that you've thrown all your cash away. You stand there frustrated with yourself, but now you can't do anything but thank Fanduel for the experience. And truth be told, you'll probably be right back to your gambling tomorrow.

The world of fantasy gaming has definitely evolved over time, and some would argue that it has made a jump from skill to chance. State legislators are trying to determine whether or not this change makes fantasy sport platforms a gambling hub. Everyone wants to know if the risky business of daily fantasy games break laws about online gambling. This is exactly what New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman set out to prove in the Supreme Court of the State of New York County. His work was in ensuring that sites such as Draftking do not "exploit the goodwill associated with the game," or "run a casino-style gambling operation."

But why is it an issue now, when people could strategically play and potentially win without raising so many red flags?

Well, fantasy sports leagues gained so much of their popularity by allowing Jo Shmo sitting on his couch, a chance to plan better than the coaches he saw on the TV screen and maybe lead a team, of his own creation, to victory.


Sites like Fanduel and Draftking let the everyday participant make decisions over the course of the season, swapping out players and making moves to account for the real-world injuries and occurrences in their particular sport.

But now participants can play daily games that take hours rather than a full season. Not only has this alteration provided instant gratification to those playing, but now the game has lost some of its luster. Instead of having to plan and re-strategize, you are just hoping you were lucky that day. Lawmakers are still trying to figure out if the change fits under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which prohibits Internet gambling. According to Professor I. Nelson Rose, who dissected the evolution of such sites, states couldn't disagree more about the Act and its applications.  For example, Arizona and Louisiana completely prohibit participation in fantasy games for profit, whereas Maryland has legalized it.

Bottom line is, it's gambling and needs to be regulated. Bills like the one signed by Gov. Cuomo that regulate entry fees and put a cap on possible winnings are necessary. According
to, Yahoo stated that not only did the bill bring fantasy back to New York, but it also increased innovation and fairness to the game. The switch to daily games introduces just the kind of behavior that the UIGEA worked to discourage, however, now a solution has been suggested to keep everything legal, and hopefully it catches on.

Go, have fun. Plan, play, win. There is nothing wrong with fantasy gaming, or even earning a little cash for it; the problem is when you stop planning and just start rolling dice.


  • Rose, Nelson. "Gambling and the Law: Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal?" Web blog post. Gambling and the Law. Asian Gaming Lawyer. October 2015.
  • First Amended Complaint. The People of the State of New York v. Draft Kings. Index No. 453054. 31 Dec. 2015. 
  • "A.G. Schneiderman Announces $12 Million Settlement with Draftkings and Fanduel." Press Release. New York Office of the Attorney General. 
  • Woodward, Curt. "DraftKings to Settle Lawsuit from N.Y. for $6m." Globe Staff. The Boston Globe. 25 Oct 2016.
  • Gouker, Dustin. "Daily Fantasy Sports is Back in Business in New York: Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill." Daily Fantasy Sports. Legal Sports Report, 3 Aug 2016.