In the last month, if you’ve watched TV or surfed the web, or turned on your smart phone, AM-FM radio, opened a newspaper, or stood near someone who has, you have been assaulted with ads for Draftkings and FanDuel.
They are online sports fantasy games and they are everywhere. Their pitch is simple – sign up, log in, charge a few bucks to your credit card (they will match your funds up to $200, so . . .), plug in your lineups on their easy to use platforms, hit enter, and WIN!
According to their websites there’ll be $2 billion in winnings this year.
Oh, yeah, it’s a game of skill, not gambling, though being lucky doesn’t hurt.
People do win . . . it’s just pretty much the same ones over and over again because the pros have moved in. The guys who spend thousands a pop, work at this 10-12 hours a day, design computer programs and algorithms to play a thousand or so games at a clip, subscribe to professional newsletters and sites . . . those are the guys winning all the money.
By the way, that sounds a whole lot more like a job – a tough job – than FUN.
According to NPR and the NY Times, these sites – who may merge any day now – break down into two distinct groups – the pros and the rest. The pros comprise 1% of the players and 80% of the prize money, and rising.
This fact will stop no-one because the games are fun, addictive, and there is that chance of winning, however slim. And, you can watch a crappy NFL game, like most of them this past weekend, and still have a rooting interest.
Which has not gone unnoticed by the powers that be – NFL teams are pumping funds into these companies on a record pace, hence all the money available for the nonstop ads.
Absent an act of Congress – which inadvertently recognized these sort of games as not gambling – they aren’t going anywhere.
One percent pulls in the overwhelming bulk of the rewards, computer programs and algorithms stilt the competition, enormous corporations invest and stand to profit greatly, ‘regular’ people are racking up debt to play.
That remind you of anything?