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Photo: CC, Shulv. Edits: Kim Wiens

Explaining the war against one-day fantasy leagues

There is no two ways about it, sports betting will always be present regardless of its legality.

The FBI has launched an investigation into whether or not one-day fantasy sports sites based in the United States, like FanDuel and DraftKings, are illegal gambling operations.

What these new sites promotes is a lower-risk, higher-reward experience and they should be supported, not forced to close up shop. These sites have massive amounts of Canadians playing on them and if they are deemed illegal, they will be shut down or forced to move off-shore.

Under current U.S. law, no Internet form of gambling can exist whose base is in the United States and whose customer base are residents of the country. The model both FanDuel and DraftKings institutes becomes a point of contention when analyzed.

Daily fantasy operator sites like DraftKings charge an entrance fee, allow players to build a team of real-world athletes, and pay out the winners in cash—all the while arguing that the aforementioned law doesn’t apply to their business, because there is a level of skill for which an exemption exists.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FBI has reportedly started asking DraftKings customers about their experiences with the company.

The investigation comes a week after it was revealed a DraftKings employee won $350,000 on a FanDuel daily contest, sparking speculations about trading insider information, and leading some sponsorship partners to pull support.

Company conflict of interest policies prevent employees from participating in their own companies, but there is no precedence for using information learned at your work to seek monetary gain from another company.

In the wake of the scandal, both FanDuel and DraftKings put a temporary ban on playing paid-for fantasy games for their employees. FanDuel turned that into a full ban a short time later, barring its employees from playing competitors’ daily fantasy challenges, and restricting employees of other fantasy operations from using its own site.

Despite the recent media buzz on the topic, gambling and sports have been closely linked since as early as the first Olympiad, with prospectors betting on eventual winners.

The days of dealing with a sketchy bookmaker putting money on games should be long gone, services like lottery sanctioned betting and one-day fantasy is the future and it’s here now.

No matter the circumstance, sports gambling is sure to undergo many changes in the near future, with leagues seeing the evolution and regulation of gambling as the next frontier for revenue and increasing the popularity of professional sports.