It’s illegal in most places to bet on actual NFL games, but fantasy football enables participants to do something similar by betting on fantasy teams that win or lose based on how real NFL players perform each week in real NFL games. Participants then boost the audience for sports channels by wasting hours watching out-of-town teams that affect the outcome of their statistics on fantasy football leagues. The National Football League has long sought to protect football’s reputation as America’s most popular sport by prohibiting legal bets on real football games, but the opportunity of drawing a new audience of obsessive football fans to cable TV was irresistible for the NFL.
Gambling in America has always been strictly limited to state-sponsored lotteries, state-regulated casinos, and horse racing. Federal laws prohibit any form of interstate gambling where bets are placed by telephone or through the mail, so how is it that this new fantasy sport can fly under the radar of federal gaming laws? Tune in tomorrow to find out.
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