For many people, fantasy sports is one of the most enjoyable activities they can participate in. It's a way for them to combine a love of sports with the love of competition. But with the rise of daily fantasy sports, is fantasy sports becoming too closely linked to gambling?
What Are Fantasy Sports?
Fantasy sports are fantasy leagues that allow individuals to create a virtual team by drafting real sports players from a specific sport. Participants join together and compete against each other based on their predictions of how the players in a particular league will perform.
There are dozens of different fantasy sports leagues available online, as well as mobile apps and dedicated websites. Each league contains season-long competitions that sometimes culminate in playoffs. Participants draft teams of players and compete against each other to earn points based on their performances during the season.
Why Do People Participate in Fantasy Sports?
People participate in fantasy sports for a variety of reasons, the most common include the following:
- Friendly competition - Fantasy sports is an excellent way for people to channel their competitive feelings in a way that is nonviolent and fulfilling.
- Social aspect - There is often the opportunity for fantasy sports players to get to know the other players within their league, or they may join in a league with people they are already friends with.
- Sports fans - Many people who participate in fantasy sports are big fans of a particular sport, and are looking for more ways to enjoy the sport. Having a fantasy sports team can make watching sports more exciting.
- Money - In most fantasy sports leagues, there is prize money for the winner at the end of the season, which can make fantasy sports more appealing.
Daily Fantasy Sports vs. Traditional Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are a subcategory of fantasy sport games that more than 30 million Americans participate in.
The main difference between daily fantasy sports and season-long fantasy sports is that DFS only requires that fantasy owners select players for a specific day or week, rather than over a whole season.
With DFS, after the week is over, there is a winner and that game is over and next week, there will be another game. The players don’t have to wait until the end of the season to receive the prize money, only until the end of the week.
Traditional fantasy sports tend to be more about friendly competition, and less about money. DFS are also more closely linked to sports betting than traditional fantasy sports.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports a Form of Gambling?
According to federal law, daily fantasy sports for money are permitted in the United States and Canada. Fantasy sports are not legally considered gambling because they are seen to be skill-based games rather than based on chance.
However, gambling is defined as the act of engaging in a game by placing a bet with the hope of gaining money or property on the outcome of a future event. This definition would classify DFS as a form of gambling.
Now that you’re aware of this reality, it’s important to pay attention to your DFS habits to ensure that you are playing responsibly.
Is Fantasy Sports a Game of Luck or Skill?
Although many would argue that fantasy sports is based purely on skill, it actually involves both luck and skill. There is decision making involved, so it’s not entirely based on luck; however, you cannot predict the outcome of a game, meaning that there is also always luck involved.
It’s true that it is helpful to understand the game and the players in order to do well in fantasy sports. You are more likely to do well if you do your research, and keep up with the sport.
The Link Between Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting
Participating in fantasy sports (particularly daily fantasy sports) can be a slippery slope towards sports betting. While it may seem like DFS is just a harmless way to have some fun, its popularity has led to sports betting on these games. It is common for people who participate in some type of fantasy sports to also place sports bets, and vice versa.
The main difference between these two activities is that in daily fantasy sports, you pick an entire team of players for a particular sport, and earn points based on how well each player performs over the course of the week.
In traditional sports betting, you generally put money down on a certain outcome. Bets are placed through a sportsbook, which will provide fixed odds and payout amounts.
Popular online sportsbooks, DraftKings and FanDuel offer daily fantasy sports and sports betting within the same app, making it easy to make the jump between DFS and sports betting.
Can You Get Addicted to Fantasy Sports?
Yes, it is possible to get addicted to fantasy sports. Millions of people around the world spend hours each week tracking their team's progress, making strategic decisions, and agonizing over player performances. In fact, many people become so obsessed with it that they may begin to neglect their personal life and relationships.
Fantasy sports can feel like a fulfilling way to spend time, but if taken too far it can have negative consequences. It can be hard to stop once you've started, and some players end up spending more time on fantasy sports than they do on real life activities.
Here are five signs that you might be suffering from fantasy sports addiction:
- You feel obsessive thoughts about your team or players all the time.
- You lose interest in activities outside of your fantasy league, even if those activities were once enjoyable for you.
- Your social circle has started shrinking because you're not spending as much time with them as usual due to focus on the game(s).
- Your loved ones are showing concern about how much time you spend on fantasy sports.
- The financial cost of playing is beginning to outweigh any potential benefits derived from participating in your league
Get Help for Fantasy Sports Addiction
At Algamus Gambling Treatment Center, we treat men and women with all types of gambling disorders - including fantasy sports and sports betting addiction. We focus not only on treating the addiction itself, but on treating the root cause of the addiction as well.
Learn more about our residential gambling treatment program, or contact our gambling addiction specialists for more information. For specific questions about this topic, leave a comment below.
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