This is the year that American sports fans have become accustomed to seeing advertising for fantasy sports games (involving the selection of players), while viewing live sports. While sports long embraced a “No Betting” concept with fans, the operators of such companies as DraftKings and FanDuel persuaded regulators that their games were games of skill, not gambling per se.
But the American people are not buying that argument. According to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week, 52% of Americans believe them to be a form of gambling, with only 31% believing them to be games of skill. The margin remains the same among categories of respondents that should know the difference: those that have gambled before, participated in fantasy sports and even those that paid money to participate in fantasy sports, with all categories saying it is a form of gambling by a range of 50-54%.
By a margin of 41% to 47% against, people are saying that these games should not be advertised during live sports coverage, though this is not as one-sided as the 29% to 59% that are against advertising gambling on the direct outcome of the games themselves.
“To see the influx of these fantasy games is a remarkable milestone for sports, which has always taken such a hard line on gambling,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute. “No betting signs were always prominent at ballparks. And now this.”
The Seton Hall survey found that 19% of respondents have participated in a fantasy league, a daily fantasy or both, while 13% have participated in the last 12 months. This is almost a threefold increase compared to February 2006 when 5% gave an affirmative answer in the Pew Social Trends Poll.
“This topic figures to remain an important one in the sports universe for the foreseeable future,” said Gentile.