For decades, land-based casinos have ruled the gaming world in the US. Legislation has been used to keep online gaming operations from infringing (legally) upon the hold casinos have enjoyed on the gambling market since the 1950s. For the most part, casinos across the country have had smooth sailing, essentially sharing gaming revenues only with the horse race industry and lotteries.
The Introduction of Legalized Fantasy Sports
It was only within the last few years that a new threat has appeared on the horizon. With the introduction of daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, the American sports gambler now has a new place to go to wager on sports. Whereas sports gambling requires the player to wager on one team versus another using a point spread or money-line, daily fantasy sports allows them to select a player or group of players and play heads up versus other fantasy sports “managers.” The fantasy sports site merely collects a fee for acting as a facilitator.
DraftKings currently sits atop the daily fantasy sports industry as its leader. Legally, fantasy sports have been allowed to operate on a state-by- state basis based on the premise the US government classifies fantasy sports as a game of chance and not gambling. By doing so, each state is allowed to determine whether daily fantasy sports sites can have access to its residents.
Fantasy Sports Controversy
After several years of explosive growth, the daily fantasy sports industry encountered its first controversy. The notorious event took place in 2015 when a DraftKings employee and computer programmer was alleged to have gained access to important statistical data through the company’s computer system. This information allegedly provided the employee with an advantage they used to win hundreds of thousands of dollars playing daily fantasy sports.
As a result of this impropriety, both DraftKings and FanDuel were brought under legal scrutiny. If the industry was going to be allowed to continue operating online, safeguards needed to be put in place to protect customers and the overall integrity of the industry. Under the threat of closure, both companies complied with government requirements and continue to operate today across most states.
Land-based Casinos and Daily Fantasy Sports
Unfortunately for the daily fantasy sports industry, the exposure related to the controversy brought a spotlight to the growing popularity of daily fantasy sports among American gamblers. With millions of willing participants and growing revenues of billions, it wasn’t long before the land- based casino industry started looking to get involved in that which fits nicely into the gambling catalog.
It’s worth noting that several Las Vegas casinos have experimented with fantasy sports in the past. Efforts were confined to the National Football League where contestants were permitted to select a group of representative NFL players on an entry form for a small entry fee. Contestants would compete against one another for a total prize package. The primary reasons these NFL contests never took hold was because access was confined to customers in the casino, and advertising was non-existent.
Over time, things change and a new day is dawning. It makes sense for land-based casinos to get involved in daily fantasy sports. The popularity of these games is growing at a rate that is simply hard to ignore. As such, the Resorts Casino Hotel out of New Jersey has become the first US-based casino operation to make a significant play in the daily fantasy sports market.
New Jersey Casino Makes a Move Towards Offering Daily Fantasy Sports
In July of this year, Resorts introduced FastPick, a daily fantasy sports contest that pits the customer against the house. The customer’s task is to select their group of players, who will be awarded points based on the player’s actual performance during the day. The wager will be placed against the house with the results being compared to a roster of players selected by a computer on the casino’s behalf with the house earning a “vig” as commission. This is a key difference from other daily fantasy sports games where the daily fantasy sports manager plays against other contestants. For now, FastPick in only available online with Resorts Casino Hotel. The casino hopes to have daily fantasy sports kiosks opened on the casino floor by the start of the NFL regular season.
The Future of Daily Fantasy Sports
These figures are to be the first step in a process. With significant revenues at stake, it looks as though the casino industry as a whole is gearing up to take on the top daily fantasy sports sites.
Contestants are apt to favor casinos because of the aforementioned controversy. With casinos subject to much more scrutiny and regulation, fantasy sports fans may opt for the additional security.
All casino industry eyes will be on Resorts’ results. If the contestants show up in force, it’s a good bet that other casinos will soon join the fray. The biggest obstacle for the casinos will be creating a way for players in other states to participate through an online facility.