Fantasy Football – Game or Gambling?

3 Nov

I want to be honest.  I am not a fan of football.  As a father, I do have son who loves football, and enjoys watching games, and (thanks for video games) is already anticipating entering the world of fantasy football.  I understand the allure of any and all things fantasy, so I did a little research on Fantasy Football.

Here are the facts:

  • Over 33 million people play Fantasy Football, most are in multiple leagues, and 20% of players are women.
  • The average Fantasy player spends about $110 per year on the hobby, equating to roughly $3.6 billion in economic productivity this season.
  • Believe it or not, Fantasy Football participants can buy insurance on their players, AND hire lawyers to settle league disputes. (Source)

While I would never spend $110 on a Fantasy Football team, I would be tempted to spend that same money on an on-line video game in order to entertain myself.  So is Fantasy Football entertainment or is it gambling?

Daily fantasy sports Yahoo DraftKings FanDuel online gambling

Game or Gambling?

Fantasy football comes in various shapes and sizes.  Some fantasy teams last an entire season, while others are considered daily games.  Most of the ads by Draft Kings and Fan Duel (Is anyone else tired of them?) promote the daily games.  Eilers Research CEO Todd Eilers estimates “that daily games will… grow 41% annually, reaching $14.4 billion in 2020.” (Source)  Especially since daily games are now endorsed by all major sports leagues.  San Francisco’s Levi Stadium now offers a Fantasy Football lounge.

According to Congressional law, fantasy football is more of a game of skill rather than a game of change.  Therefore, fantasy football is not gambling in the traditional sense.  (Source)  However, will the federal government allows people to play for money online, many states have adopted their laws to outlaw playing for money.  While sporting leagues support the classification as a “skill,” other gambling industries feel that Fantasy Sports Companies should have to follow equal regulations.

Clearly, fantasy sports are growing at an exponential rate, and they are here to stay.  Like all activities, followers of Christ should examine their activities in view of their life commitment to him.

Here are some questions for to begin the process:

  • How much energy/attention am I giving towards this activity?
  • How much money am I giving towards this activity?
  • How does this activity affect the relationships that I have with family/friends?
  • How central to my experience is paying fees and winning cash?
  • Could this activity lead me to other forms of gaming/gambling?
  • Do I lose sleep/joy/peace over this activity?
  • And the final question, “What would Jesus do?” (Which is a good question, unless it makes you cringe from the cheesy WWJD bracelet craze from the 1990’s?)

Our main concern is not what the government, cultural opinion, or other Christians says about playing fantasy sports.  Our concern is what is God calling me to do, and how am I being led by the Spirit?

Feel free to leave your thoughts or opinions.

picture with boysDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

One Response to “Fantasy Football – Game or Gambling?”

  1. Melinda K. Taylor November 3, 2015 at 11:46 #

    The thing with Fantasy Football and other gaming activities what starts out to be just for fun- a one time thing it turns into addiction. How do you think people get addicted to going to casinos? They go once win a little bit of money, want to go again and soon it turns into an addiction. All I can say is watch out!! Thank you David for posting this.

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