Residents of Arizona were bitterly disappointed when the Arizona State legislative body defeated a measure that would classify the playing of fantasy sports as a game of “skill” as oppose to a game of “chance.” The result of the failure to pass the measure is that the all games involving fantasy sports will remain classified as games of chance and any winnings will be deemed illegal. The measure, which was labeled as bill 1468, was widely supported throughout the state and many residents in Arizona thought that there was a good chance that the law would pass.
The United States Federal government, as well as 45 states had determined that fantasy sports winnings were legal as the games were classified as skill games in those states. Arizona and four other states remain the only states in the country that still hold on to the minority view. The playing of fantasy sport games are legal in all states in the union but the collection of winnings are restricted in the five states including Arizona. There is no timetable when another measure will be brought forward again to the Arizona General Assembly. Many believe that it will be at least a few more years before Arizona joins the rest of the country. As fantasy sports betting becomes more lucrative, many governments will decide that it is better to collect of the tax revenue generated from the individual earnings as well as additional revenues from advertising.
There are many sectors in the anti gambling establishment that believe that any type of state sponsored gambling will promote a disproportionate number of individuals without the resources to gamble. These groups feel that fantasy sports gaming sites only encourage those that are addicted to gambling to further engage in their habit.
This minority voice is slowly becoming smaller and smaller as larger corporate brands such as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association embrace fantasy sports play. These major corporate brands, as well as others, see that the play of fantasy sports increases the viewership of its product. Increased viewership means more commercial branding and more advertising dollars. Simply stated, fantasy sports play has been a financial boom for the sports that the fantasy play is based on. This success also has translated into a financial boom for cable and television providers that are now finding the need to keep up with the viewer demand to watch and keep track of more sporting events at the same time.
Those that support fantasy sports play argue that the art of the game requires research and an intimate understanding of the teams and players that make up a fantasy sport. While luck plays a role in the area of injuries and weekly matches, the fantasy sports game is designed so that those that are successful are those that have used a significant amount of skill in putting their teams together and making adjustments as the season continues. Many have found that the skill set required to engage in fantasy sports play is the same skill required by executives in major sports teams which use analytics to form and structure their teams. While many have bought into this argument, the science is still relatively new.
Additional pressure for legalizing the winnings from fantasy sports play is the increase usage of social media. Technology has outpaced traditional business and entertainment at a rate that has never been seen before in the sports betting industry. The digital age is demanding that other entertainment sectors keep up to meet the needs of the digital users. These users no longer simply watch a sporting event on a television. They now watch several games at the same time. Sometimes they use split or multi view game broadcast options while following the performance of specific players on various gaming applications on their tablet devices and smart phones.
Many also believe that fantasy sports play will increase more as governments realize more ways that they can financially benefit from the fantasy events. Much like the lottery history, playing or running a lottery or “numbers” game was considered illegal until the government took over the gaming space. Now lottery play continues to be a lucrative financial windfall for every state that has sanctioned a lottery game. Just as the winds of change impacted the lottery game, many believe that the same thing will happen to states like Arizona. It will simply be a matter of time before fantasy play is fully authorized in all aspects.
Many see the world of fantasy sports play to become more sophisticated as well as more engaging. Software application designers are becoming innovative in creating applications that appeal to the fantasy sport user. While the actual number of fantasy sport players is unknown, it is estimated that the number is in the millions and that the number of users will continue to grow.
Fantasy games have also grown in popularity because these games are not associated with a criminal activity or a criminal element that casino gambling has been associated. Many, if not all, fantasy sports players engage in play with family members, work and neighborhood friends. Many fantasy players are as young as ten and play for the thrill of the game.
At some point, many see fantasy play as correlating into higher brain functioning. This is deemed a plus for younger players that are finding that the new digital world that they are forced to deal with is quickly out pacing their traditional school education. Once these increased educational benefits are discussed further in the public forum, many see hold out states, such as Arizona, capitulating to the wide spread support for fantasy sport legalization in their state.