We bet all night and itâ€™s legal! Itâ€™s Fantasy Betting The bets are an exception to laws banning online gambling because they take the form of fantasy sports -where participants pick a team of reallife players in baseball, football or other sports and compete based on their real-life statistics. Such competitions typically last a season, but more websites are springing up that offer prize money for teams that last only one night. Fantasy betting is getting more and more popular by the hour. Drawn by the possibility of quick cash payouts, instead of just end-of-season glory, fans are ready for more-than-casual rivalries among friends or co-workers are building new nightly online fantasy betting into a hit for the $800 million fantasy sports industry. More than a dozen websites have sprung up to manage daily fantasy sports wagers and grab a percentage of the market. Gambling on fantasy sports online has been explicitly legal in all but six states since 2006, thanks to an exception built into that year's federal ban on most online gambling. But most website operators remained worried about the legality of wagering of any kind until one popular fantasy sports site launched a daily game in late 2008 called Snapdraft, and attracted players instead of trouble. Then a far less popular launched daily games with gambling in mid 2009. Here's how fantasy sports betting online works. As in the office pool, fans compile teams of their favorite professional athletes and advance or fall back based on how the athletes perform in reality. A few major portals, including Yahoo.com and ESPN.com, have long offered platforms for the hobby without betting. But the newest online games pay cash each day out to the participants whose teams for that night include the highest-achieving individual players. This isn't considered sports gambling, like Las Vegas casinos offer, because gamblers can't wager on scores or team wins or loses, and they can't create fantasy teams that mirror realworld teams. Not that they'd want to if they expect to win. These are what-if teams, where individual performance is the most important factor. Football is by far the most popular fantasy sport. Players who gamble on fantasy sports were spending an average of $134 per year on their leagues, an Ipsos study found in 2008, when the daily gambling sites were just starting to take off. Ipsos found that of the 27 million Americans and nearly 3 million Canadians who play fantasy sports each year, about threequarters do it just for bragging rights.
Indeed, fantasy betting is here to stay. It's a niche that fits into a larger strategy.