Fantasy Sports Herald the Way for a kind of Sports BettingThe July 23, 2010, By Hugo B. Horton
CNN earlier this year posted an article titled “The Rise and Rise of Fantasy Sports,” in which it reported the activity is expanding at double-digit rates.;
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates 27.1 million adults in the United States currently participate in and will spend roughly $4 billion on virtual sports competitions in 2010. Prizes earned by game winners vary from less than $100 in cash or comparable value to $10,000 or more.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 made exceptions for horse racing, fantasy sports, state lotteries, and certain kinds of securities transactions. The magazine Editor & Publisher—in referring to a recent cash-reward sports fantasy contest run by the Philadelphia Inquirer web site Philly.com—remarked that the publication “has become the first newspaper to offer online sports betting in the United States.” All but six states permit their citizens to partake of fantasy sports for money and in-kind rewards.
Media portals such as CBSSports.com and Yahoo.com offer free fantasy sports games in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. The demographic profile of fantasy sports players is highly desirable.
According to World Fantasy Games, a typical player is a college-educated 37-year-old male who is married with children and has a $94,000 annual household income. He manages six fantasy teams in various sports and, in doing so, is online at least three to four hours a week. Men compose about 90% of fantasy sports players.
Horse racing needs to pay close attention, given the magnitude and growth trajectory of the fantasy-sports market. This segment of sports entertainment represents an increasingly important competitor for the gaming dollar.