Fantasy sports have been around since shortly after World War II but didn’t really become a main stream phenomenon until around the 1990’s with the boom of the internet. In the early days of fantasy sports it was kept to pretty much baseball rotisserie leagues however now days there are fantasy leagues in almost every sport imaginable.
Not much is known about how these new leagues will be handled just yet. Since most casino’s do not have any previous experience in running fantasy leagues it doesn’t appear that any definitive decisions will be made in the near future on how the leagues will be ran. These leagues will most likely be launched in time for the 2013 NFL season however. In these fantasy leagues you are able to play with a group of friends for money or some leagues just for fun. Now the casinos are getting on board with fantasy leagues and as of last week in Atlantic City, New Jersey you can start gambling on those exact leagues. Casinos are now able to partner with fantasy leagues such as Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, and CBS Sports to let them run the tournaments. The casinos will be able take entry fees and pay out winnings at casino cages similar to how they treat slot machine and table game winnings.
Gambling on sporting events is still illegal in New Jersey so this fantasy gambling seems like a way to get around the existing law. This is only a trial run that will be legal for 270 days and after that time local regulators will be able to file for the law to become permanent. Many feel this is a way to help out the local casinos that have seen revenues drop for many years. One of the newest casinos in Atlantic City, Abysmal, has already filed for bankruptcy just a year after it had opened.
Fantasy leagues draw in upwards of 35 million players a year with billions of dollars changing hands each year. It was only a matter of time before casinos were brought on board this ever growing gaming trend. Betting on sporting events have been around for decades but never have you been able to gamble on a fantasy game. Since no specific details have yet to be announced I’m very curious how the leagues will be ran. Either way, Atlantic City needs to generate some revenue from these new leagues or they could see more casinos filing for bankruptcy in the near future.
- New Jersey to offer fantasy sports games at casinos (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- New Jersey Allows Casinos to Operate Fantasy Sports Tournaments (bloomberg.com)
- New Jersey to allow fantasy sports betting in casinos starting next month (nj.com)