There has been a big debate for daily fantasy football in the US over the past year. Sites and regulators have argued whether the game is one of chance or skill. This is because online gambling is illegal there; operators want to class the game as skill-based to keep their U.S. players.
On the other hand, labelling daily fantasy football gambling is par for the course in the UK. Let’s look a bit more in depth at the difference between games of chance and games of skill. Where does daily fantasy football fall in the Venn diagram of the two?
Daily Fantasy Football as a Game of Skill
There’s a strong argument for daily fantasy sports being a game of skill. Players pick a team based on research and the analysis of statistics. You can look at factors such as an athlete’s previous production, their strengths and weaknesses, and even the qualities of the opposing team.
Many players dig into reams of data, compiling complex formulae and spreadsheets to help them devise the perfect team, with the strongest chances of winning.
This very fact goes a long way to suggest there is skill at play; it follows that players who are better at analysing all the conditions at play have the advantage over those who were less data-minded.
Daily Fantasy Football as a Game of Chance
Despite there being a strong factor of skill, it’s still widely accepted that daily fantasy sports are games of chance. The fact is, even with the most scrupulous preparation, one simply cannot firmly predict exactly how a player will perform, because player performance varies from game to game for no readily apparent reasons.
Factors you would never be able to have a proper, quantifiable insight into, such as the private lives of players and team dynamics are all in play, which will have a bearing on their individual performance.
Moreover, completely unpredictable events might influence the outcome of matches; players might suffer injury mid-game for instance. Even if you take weather forecasts into account when making your selection, they can still prove wildly inaccurate.
There’s just too much randomness and uncertainly at play to consider daily fantasy football anything other than a game of chance. Thus, we label daily fantasy football gambling if you play for real money.
Great News for UK Players
It’s a funny thing; in the US, proponents of daily fantasy sports are keen for everyone to see the game as anything other than gambling. This is because of the strict laws prohibiting online gambling in most states.
In order to operate, sites must convince law makers that the fact you draft your own team makes it a skill game. They have been mostly successful; from New York to Virginia, daily fantasy sports are now legal and regulated.
Ironically, the opposite is true in the UK, as players actually benefit more from a daily fantasy football gambling classification. Not only does this mean that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) regulates the industry and safeguards players. It also means that no player needs to worry about paying any tax on their winnings. Ever. Of course, operators are subject to a higher tax rate. However, this is a small price to pay for having a proper industry with regulations.