Player selection is the basis for fantasy sports. Choosing the right batter to go against a struggling pitcher can produce a big win. So can picking that mid-salaried quarterback who lights up a faltering opponent.
But when it comes to the prospect of daily fantasy sports someday being a part of casinos, the key is word selection. Here are five words that are key to casinos becoming hip, happening places for a younger clientele by featuring DFS.
- PASPA: The American Gaming Association is pushing for the U.S. Congress to repeal this 1992 law, which prohibits sports gambling. The AGA argues that PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) is ineffective in preventing illegal gambling. That may be true; what’s certainly true is that if the casino industry is to someday host daily fantasy sports contests, the PASPA roadblock must be removed.
- Courts: Fort Lauderdale attorney Daniel Wallach (pictured), who speaks around the country about DFS, notes that the quickest way to blot out PASPA would be for a court decision ruling it to be unconstitutional. “In situations like these, the advances have been via the courts,” notes Wallach. “[Legislators] move at a snail’s pace. What will create change is a court defeat.” Wallach acknowledges his line of thinking is “much more aggressive” than what the AGA proposes. “With one court decision the whole thing goes away. All that needs to happen are more challenges to the federal ban on sports betting. That law is on wobbly legs as it is.”
- Skill: The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which represents the daily fantasy sports industry, could torpedo the attractiveness of casinos becoming DFS dens if it gets enough state legislators to agree with the argument that picking players daily and wagering on the ability to perform in real-life games is based primarily on skill. “We’ve always been open to working with any entity that wants to run fantasy sports contests,” said association chairman Peter Schoenke. “That could be a restaurant, bar, movie chain … we see casinos as being no different. We’re not opposed to that.” Schoenke said DFS is 75 to 85 percent skill. Notes Wallach: “If they acquiesce to calling it gambling in one jurisdiction, they’re going to drop like dominoes and DraftKings and FanDuel will be unable to stop the dam from bursting. If one or two states pivot, the fear is many of the other states follow suit and the cost to comply will be much more.”
- Monmouth: A sample of a partnership between DFS and the gambling industry already exists, at Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey. Because sports wagering is legal in that state, Monmouth has partnered with a DFS company to create “Score at the Shore.” Financial results are still incomplete, but Schoenke notes that DFS is more of a computer, play-at-home game, with many players even creating spreadsheets. “Fantasy sports is not a product,” Schoenke says. “It was conceived by fans for fans. This is a product that’s not from the gambling world.”
- Lounges: Wallach sees casinos setting up DFS lounges, rather than becoming the central point for gamblers to book their DFS. He cites football stadiums in Dallas and Jacksonville and their existing DFS lounges as a model. “DFS lounges in casinos would attract millenials, and create a social experience that currently doesn’t exist in the online world.”