The old skill vs. chance debate in gambling has reared its ugly head once again, showing that some people simply don’t understand the nuances of what’s involved with certain types of wagers. In 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo authorized the state’s gaming commission to issue temporary permits for sports gambling companies to get into daily fantasy sports (DFS). The decision was highly contested at the time and ultimately led to a court deciding that the state legislature couldn’t authorize the activity. While DFS continued to be debated and an appeal was entered, the games continued. However, things could be about to change drastically, as an appeals court has now sided with the lower court’s decision – DFS is pure chance, not skill.
Anyone who has ever participated in DFS knows that there is more than just luck involved. This is why certain people are better at it than others, just like is the case with poker. They’re better at analyzing moves and plays and setting up their sheets and teams to be winners. A look at DFS players and their standings is enough to support this conclusion.
That’s not how the courts see it, though, and this is bad news for DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, FantasyDraft and Draft, the five companies who had been issued the temporary DFS licenses. They are almost certainly scrambling now to work with Attorney General (AG) Letitia James on a plan to take the case to the next level, the New York Court of Appeals. The AG’s office indicates that it is reviewing the decision and will make a determination on whether or not to proceed with the case.
FanDuel is prepared, should the decision to take things to the next level be made. It said in a statement, “We expect that there will be an appeal and we’ll be able to continue to offer contests while that appeal is decided.” DraftKings was right there, as well, adding that the “legislative action authorizing fantasy sports in New York was constitutional and in the best interests of taxpayers and fantasy sports fans.”
New York lawmakers still support DFS as a type of sports gambling and will most likely back any effort to seek an appeal. However, some states have already decided that the practice doesn’t have a place in their gambling plans. DFS is currently prohibited in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.
If gambling opponents invested even just a few minutes to understand the intricacies of sports gambling and DFS, they would find themselves in a more enlightened and educated position to make decisions. For example, a simple glance at rotogrinders.com shows that Alex Baker, aka “awesemo,” has had tremendous success with his picks. He is consistently found at the top of the charts on FanDuel, DraftKings and FantasyDraft, and that consistency is impossible in a game of luck.