In 2015 over 56 million people world wide were involved in a fantasy sport. That was almost a 37 percent jump from 2014. In 2013, Forbes listed fantasy football alone worth 60 billion dollars. If you can find the right sport to fit your liking and knowledge you can make some serious money.
I caught up with two of my closest friends and picked their brains on their fantasy mastery. Take a listen and see if you can steal an idea or two to help you and your future teams.
Gambling comes in many forms, legal and illegal. When I was in high school, I played the part of “bookie” for one year, making little profit but having fun. Tragically, my empire crumbled all at once and without warning when those names in my little black book realized we were doing this on the honor system, and the losers decided not to pay up. Lacking the necessary enforcer most in my trade kept in employment, I had to close up shop.
These days, things are more sophisticated than a black book and a threatening associate who doesn’t mind getting rough. Online fantasy (or gambling, depending on your stance) websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have had an explosive year, bringing in throngs of new members who gamble every week on different sports, with the NFL being the current frontrunner.
These sites have also drawn criticism from the public, trying to fight off claims that they’re illegal online gambling sites and not strictly for fantasy sports use.
They have not been successful in this endeavor.
The New York attorney general declared Wednesday that they were in fact illegal gambling sites and that they were to cease taking bets from New Yorkers. While both sites told ESPN they’re optimistic about getting the decision repealed, the future isn’t as bright as it was before.
Regardless of legal trouble, business has been booming for both fantasy sites. Forbes reported that DraftKings entry fees, which totaled $45 million in 2013, rose to $304 million in 2014. That kind of growth has drawn criticism, but it’s safe to say their fans outnumber their enemies.
“I love winning, and the time I put into my teams every week is fun, too,” said Jett Maurer, a resident of Dennison, Ohio, and one of the many users of FanDuel.
Maurer, who started playing this football season, also talked about how his involvement in FanDuel led him to be a more devoted sports fan.
“My favorite part is scouting players for next week’s team,” Maurer said. “It actually makes me pay more attention to the sport.”
The sites, which operate differently from most season-long fantasy sites, allow the gamblers to choose a new lineup each week or day, which creates a more flexible environment to bet in. This is undoubtedly one of the main draws of the sites. The leagues also vary by size, amount of money won.
As the seasons change and basketball becomes the main focus, Maurer said the game isn’t the only thing that changes.
“There are more basketball games every week, so that means you have to pay more attention, and it also means there’s more at stake,” Maurer said.
Not everyone is a fan of the sites, however. Some people don’t like how the system is set up and believe the sites leave a gray area in how the winner is chosen that leaves the outcome arguable.
Nick Merrick, a senior at Ohio State University, is one of the people who aren’t impressed.
“I like gambling when there is a clear winner, when you either win or lose.” Merrick said. “This seems like fake gambling.”