When Does Fantasy Football Become Gambling?

As the weather changes and fall is in the air, fantasy football enthusiasts are gearing up for another season of fun and possible winnings. Millions of dollars are gambled every year through the giant businesses of fantasy sports; however, there is a difference between gaming based on skills and illegal betting. Some fantasy football games may have already turned illegal.

According to a law passed nearly ten years ago, fantasy sports were legalized. It is known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA. Even though this law excludes fantasy football from its betting definition, there are other federal and state laws that may prohibit certain types of this gaming entertainment. It is not a piece of legislation that protects fantasy football gaming operators. The UIGEA leaves the determination of what constitutes illegal Internet gambling to some federal and state jurisdictions.

Many fantasy football contests are setup for the pure fun of the game. It is free to play and no one wins any money. The problem is with the contests where participants must pay money to play with the chances of winning a cash payout if their team wins. In these cases, many states take into consideration how much chance is involved in the contests and the ratio of the number of players to the chances of winning a prize. For some of these paying games, they have already stepped into the realm of illegal gambling.

Gambling, by definition, involves cash that is at stake, what the payout prize is, and the odds of a participator winning. Usually, money or other valuables are at stake with the risks of either losing it or possibly winning a larger sum. These are the standard guidelines that states use when considering illegal gambling. However, not every state has the same chance level that satisfies their view between a permitted game and illegal betting.

In reference to the level of chance variance of each state, there are different categories. If a game’s rules places chance over skill, most states would probably rule that it constitutes illegal gaming. There are a few states who will not allow contests with any chances involved. Then, there are some states that are moderate and say that a gaming contest is only illegal if it involves significant chance in relation to skill.

As most fantasy football players know, there is always a little bit of chance in their contests. For states that prohibit any element of chance, fantasy football would not be allowed. Most websites dedicated to fantasy football and other fantasy sports are on top of their legal knowledge and will not allow people from probative states to join the contest. While this represents the majority, there are still some online sites who are either ignorant of the law or who blatantly disobey it.

Even though fantasy football games have chance elements, the real football games being played mostly involve skill. Many fantasy football games will not be legally challenged in most states because the amount of skill needed for choosing and playing trumps the odds. If participants are from one of the states that forbid any chance of losing material pay-ins, they stand a chance being in a legal action. Some fantasy football games that are played every day involve huge chances and probably are not legal in any state. A lot of gaming experts opine that many fantasy football contests are being illegally held every day across America.

Some states may consider it lawful to pay in order to enter a contest as long as the prize is not hinged on how many other people are playing. If a fantasy football contest has a pre-determined prize amount, regardless of the number of participants, many states will permit it. It is considered a participation fee and not a wager. However, if the amount of the prize is represented in any way by the players (creating odds for winning), the money will probably be considered an illegal bet.

Nearly all fantasy football contests will predetermine their cash prizes. Their way out is that some of them have disclaimers that state if enough people have not registered for the contest by a certain date, the website has a right to cancel the contest and refund participation fees. The problem is that many states may see this as a ruse to cover illegal gambling contests.

There are thousands of fantasy football fans who will be marking their game books this year. It is important to know the laws of your state and if you are playing on website that is running a legal game. Just because a game is online and is highly advertised does not mean it is legal. There are a lot of contests on the Internet that do not take gambling laws into consideration. You and your friends can have fun choosing fantasy football teams as long as everything stays within the confines of state laws.

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