Fantasy Sports Ruling: Bet on Hypocrisy

It's not gambling because the government says so
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2008 9:39 PM CDT
Red Rock casino sports book director Jason McCormick poses for a photograph in Las Vegas. His sports book was to become the first to release a betting line based on players' fantasy statistics.   (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Fantasy sports are A-OK with the Supreme Court and the US government—even though they’re essentially thinly disguised gambling games, writes Jacob Sullum of Reason Online. Many leagues openly include an entrance fee and a cash prize—which seems an awful lot like sports betting. But it’s not, the government insists, driving home how arbitrary gambling laws really are.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act contains a specific exception for Fantasy Sports, provided the imaginary teams don’t correspond to real teams. If this is legal, poker and sports betting should be, too, Sullum says. Both are equally skill-based and at least as popular. “Here’s the real reason playing fantasy sports is not gambling,” he writes. “The government says it isn’t.”