December 22, 2015

The Daily Fantasy Sports Debacle

The Daily Fantasy Sports Debacle
Theo Deitz-­Green ‘19


Over the past few months, students at Golda Och Academy have been committing what many consider to be a crime.
Recently, controversy has arisen across the United States over daily fantasy sports leagues. Every day there is a sporting event, people can enter a league and choose teams of players based on who they anticipate will perform the best. The people with the teams that end up performing best win money and other rewards such as tickets to sporting events.
The leagues are very controversial because many people believe that those playing in these leagues are gambling, given that people are betting and either winning or losing money based on events beyond their control. In the United States, online gambling is illegal.
The main daily fantasy sports companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, disagree. They argue that these leagues are skill-based and are therefore, not gambling.
Similarly, the Golda Och Academy community is divided on this issue. For some, like freshman Josh Kalet, there is a simple answer.
“I would consider it gambling,” Kalet said. “There is no way that you can accurately predict how a player will perform before the game.”
Sophomore Jake Halpern also thinks the answer is easy.
“It’s all about skill,” Halpern said. “I know who’s good and I know who’s not.”
Others, like freshman Eitan Gerstle, find this issue much more complex. He thinks that it is gambling but still insists that “there is no black and white.
“Yeah, it’s gambling,” Gerstle said. “[However], they are so popular at this point that there is no way to shut it down.”
Some think it matters less about whether it is or is not gambling and more about whether or not the government should be regulating gambling in the first place.
“I think [government regulation of gambling] is a very complicated question,” responded Rabbi Adam Gindea, “because it’s based on your understanding of the government. If you don’t believe the government should micromanage [people’s lives, then it shouldn’t be able to regulate gambling], but if you believe it should guide and guard all the rules and regulations, then perhaps they should.”
Among the students, there are different views on what role the government should play in this issue.
Freshman Gideon Fox believes the government should “regulate it like online poker,” but fellow freshman Fanya Hoffman has a different view. She believes that people should be able to do whatever they want.

“As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else,” commented Hoffman, “it’s their choice.”

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