Legalized Sports Betting Likely To Have Little Impact on Popularity of Fantasy Sports

Published on December 7th, 2018 8:53 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

American football player looking up into the sky.  Fantasy sports is alive and well in the United States. It's a tradition that is almost as old as the game of football itself.

A bunch of friends, family or business associates congregate once per year to hold their fantasy football draft. Everybody pitches in $50 for a chance to win the league and the bragging rights that come with it.

Fantasy sports, especially fantasy football, have proven to be extremely beneficial for all of the professional sports leagues in North America. After all, you might not really care about who wins the Jacksonville/Denver game, but if you have Leonard Fournette on your fantasy football team, you will likely watch the game until the bitter end in order to see how your player will do.

Fantasy sports have had a major impact on the TV ratings of all of the major sports leagues in North America.

Will legalized sports betting sweeping the nation thanks to a ruling by the Supreme Court, will the popularity of fantasy sports in the United States be helped or hurt by an increased interest in sports betting?

In short, the answer is that things probably won't change very much.

If you partake in fantasy sports and don't really like to gamble, things aren't going to change for you.

If you partake in fantasy sports and love to gamble, you will not be paring back on your fantasy sports. It's too fun and too addictive, and there is plenty of time to do both.

The only changes that I see coming are:

1) Proliferation of sites that handle the accounting side of running a fantasy sports league. So, instead of collecting dues manually from the league's participants, you will send a link to a site that will collect, hold and pay out the winnings. There are already sites that do this, though I expect more to pop up in the future. I would not be surprised to see a site like ESPN offer this feature in the future in exchange for a small cut of the prize pool.

2) Daily fantasy sports sites will offer sports betting as well. This is already happening, as DraftKings and Fanduel both offer sports betting in New Jersey.

3) Increased coverage of daily fantasy sports on television. This was already happening until a scandal at DraftKings/Fanduel resulted in increased scrutiny and regulation of the industry, which caused companies like ESPN to cut back on their coverage of daily fantasy sports. Expect this to reverse back in the near future.


In short - I don't anticipate that legalized sports betting will have much of an impact on the fantasy sports industry at all.

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