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article imageFor the love of the game? Monetizing fantasy sports Special

By David Wayne     Aug 13, 2013 in Sports
Although sports gambling is illegal in all but a few jurisdictions (e.g., Nevada, New Jersey), people are now finding ways to make money from fantasy sports.
The legality of online gambling is something that seems to always be up for debate (or legislation), especially in the United States. Although online gambling is making some headway in the States, it’s still relatively rare to see it fully enacted. Of course, most European markets have allowed online gambling in one way or another for over a decade. Online casinos based in Europe are commonplace and many of those living on the continent can gamble to their heart’s content.
Recently, the legality of daily fantasy sports websites has come into question even while the earning power of such websites is virtually indisputable. Fantast sports have come a long way since their inception in the mid-80’s, and sports fans across the globe have enjoyed earning bragging rights against their friends and maybe a few cash prizes here and there. But, a game that used to be something you played with acquaintances over the course of an entire season has started to become considerably more interesting and immediate.
Websites like FanDuel have continued to raise the stakes with games that take place over a smaller amount of time and still offer major payouts to those involved. Again, this sort of blurs the line between sports betting and skilled competition. On one side, you have proponents saying that fantasy sports are competitions of skill and cunning. On the other side, you have detractors saying that the limited range of these daily fantasy sports websites makes them seem much more like choosing the winners and losers of particular games (otherwise known as sports betting).
Of course, online sports betting is still a big business with websites like Bet365 going strong. The only difference is that most of these websites are, again, based in Europe. FanDuel, the lucrative fantasy sports provider, is based in New York, firmly within the jurisdiction of the United States federal government.
As money becomes an overarching factor in determining the intensity of a fantasy sports game, it might seem like all of the pure, innocent fun of the game has been destroyed. Can anyone play fantasy sports without some kind of monetary incentive? Certainly they can and there are plenty of websites that prove just that. You need only take a look at one of the internet’s most popular fantasy sports providers in Yahoo to see that a large majority of players is still in it for the love of the game.
Even dedicated fantasy sports websites like FanXT have created places for people to have fun playing a virtual version of the game they love. While FanXT’s selection of fantasy games isn’t as robust as some others, they are the official provider of fantasy football for the Finnish Veikkausliiga and Hong Kong First Division League. For context, the Veikkausliiga is Finland’s top league of football and Europe’s 28th best league. The market for a fantasy version of the Veikkausliiga must be noticeably small, but there’s really no incentive to play the game, but the passion of football and their fantasy installments.
Obviously, FanXT isn’t in the business just for the love of the game. They are innovators in the English Premier League fantasy game, allowing “commissioners” to customize everything from player values to the amount of teams in a league; for a price. But, while American companies fight for their right to offer cash buy-ins and payouts for short-term fantasy games and European companies bank in on less regulation, there will always be websites like FanXT offering niche casual gaming along with innovations to the concept that can’t be ignored.
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