Saturday, December 12, 2015

Family friendly? Rampant Barclays Center gambling promotion seen as an argument for legalizing fantasy sports

Resorts World Casino Plaza
In a 12/11/15 column, The Hypocritical Legal Campaign Against Daily Fantasy Sports, the New Yorker's James Surowiecki writes:
This has been the year when daily fantasy sports went mainstream. Ads from the two biggest daily fantasy sites, Draft Kings and Fan Duel, were inescapable on sports broadcasts all summer and fall, and the number of Americans playing these games skyrocketed. But on Friday morning, New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez appeared to put a major crimp in both sites’ business models, ruling that daily fantasy sports are a form of gambling and granting a request by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for an injunction barring Draft Kings and Fan Duel from doing business in New York. The state is among these sites’ biggest markets, and for a few hours at least—before another judge granted an emergency reprieve allowing the companies to stay open into January, when an appeal will be heard—Mendez’s ruling looked like it would be terrible news for their bottom lines. It was also a perfect illustration of the arbitrariness of American attitudes toward gambling.
After, all, he points out:
New York state already sanctions, and in some cases sponsors, myriad forms of gambling, a fact that is driven home, ironically, whenever you attend a sporting event in New York City. Walking into the Barclays Center for a basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night, for instance, fans were greeted with a huge digital billboard trumpeting the arrival of “Electronic Blackjack” at Resorts World Casino, which is located in Jamaica, Queens. During the game, the scoreboard over the court featured ads for the New York Lottery’s hundred-and-forty-five-million-dollar Powerball jackpot, and for its new Christmas-themed scratch-card games. Yet it’s only daily fantasy—which you could also see advertised prominently at Barclays, in the form of Fan Duel’s logo across the floor in front of both teams’ benches—that the state wants to ban.
(Emphasis added)

While the Attorney General argues that daily fantasy wagering is unusually damaging, the Surowiecki points out that gamblers typically lose, and a certain fraction get addicted. He thinks slot machines and the lottery are worse because, unlike sports gambling, they rely purely on chance. He thinks it "would be a rational and intellectually coherent move" to legalize daily fantasy.

My comments

I think Surowiecki has strong points, but doesn't address the hypocrisy and danger of calling it "fantasy sports" rather than gambling.

It's notable how the Barclays Center, pitched as a family-friendly venue, has glommed onto gambling sponsorship, replacing (or adding to?) the Daily News plaza sponsorship with Resorts World.

They go where the money is.

1 comment:

  1. Martin9:55 AM

    I don't agree with the New York Attorney General on this - I don't think that DFS are a form of gambling, it does not make sense at all. It's obvious that there is a significant element of skill involved because being successful when it comes to DFS is all about making the right picks. You can check out this article: http://www.fantasysportsdaily.com/is-dfs-on-the-verge-of-shutting-down/. Ιt's by fantasysportsdaily.com, a site that I follow for pick recommendations, and it presents an interesting point of view on the subject and backs its claim by a variety of charts and data. It's a big industry with many types of businesses depending on it and I think that, even if the ban was justified in the first place, the timing is off - it should have happened a long time ago so; now it will definitely have serious implications.

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