Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, December 04, 2015

More on Fantasy Sports Gambling

In 2006, the outgoing Republican Congress voted overwhelmingly to extend the federal interstate gambling ban to the internet, which was then becoming widely available. This federal ban on internet gambling, however, contains a loophole for “fantasy sports” gambling schemes that supposedly contain some elements of skill. Through this loophole, billions of dollars are being bet on football, to the point where it overshadows sports betting in Las Vegas. In less than a decade the number of those enticed to play fantasy football has skyrocketed to more than 50 million.

Average American football fans, mostly men, are transformed into gamblers by get-rich-quick promises using these fantasy sports schemes. The NFL heavily promotes this because the more that people bet on fantasy football, the higher their television ratings and the greater their revenue. The TV advertisements during football broadcasts amount to money in the bank for the NFL, and nearly every team in the NFL now has its own deal to profit from fantasy football.

The chairman and CEO of one of the biggest Las Vegas casinos, Jim Murren, said earlier this year that politicians are “absolutely, utterly wrong” in pretending that fantasy football is not gambling. “I don’t know how to run a football team,” he declared, “but I do know how to run a casino, and this is gambling.”

Even more dangerous is the news that the NFL’s chief marketing officer, Mark Waller, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to bring fantasy football into the curriculum of elementary schools, supposedly to teach math. The NFL hopes to lock in another generation for its television ratings — and some will be hooked on gambling, too. With the NFL trying to push fantasy football into elementary school curriculum, it is time for parents to push back.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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