Wagering that a Roulette-wheel marble will land on a black square or letting a computer pick your Powerball numbers and then watching as numbered ping-pong balls are sucked through a tube? That, my friends, is pure chance and luck.
Watching NFL games and researching statistics and then wagering that the Redskins will beat the Cowboys because, well, Kellen Moore isn’t as good as Kirk Cousins? That, of course, is skill.
Me and other folks – like, say, Mavs owner Mark Cuban – don’t understand why for some this differentiation is so hard to grasp.
Cuban, an investor in Fantasy Labs, Inc., co-founded by former Blue Star blogger Jonathan Bales, will be the keynote speaker at today’s Fantasy Sports Trade Association Winter Conference in Dallas, a day after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared daily fantasy games illegal in this state.
Paxton said in a statement that daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings are operating illegally in Texas because they are games of chance and “the house takes a cut.”
My bet is that Paxton has never made a sports bet. If so, he’d know that sports wagers – on games, seasons or daily individual performances – are hardly left to chance. Winning the lottery? Lucky. Winning your Fantasy Football League? Skill. Bingo? Chance. Wagering on a horse race? Skill.
Basically any wager where you can increase your chances of winning with knowledge is skill. Why is that hard to grasp?
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“I think there's definitely skill involved,” Paxton said Tuesday in an interview on ESPN Radio. “The problem is under current Texas law, if there's any bit of chance and someone's taking a cut, it's considered gambling and illegal. That's not my law. That's law in the state of Texas.”
While several sports teams – including the Cowboys – have partnered with daily fantasy sites, now the courts are fighting back to declare them illegal gambling sites. Which, of course, miffs and infuriates non-linear thinkers like Cuban.
“Let’s be clear,” he tweeted, “More skill is required for DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) than picking stocks.”
Fantasy football has been a boon for the NFL. And daily fantasy sites will be no different for all sports, if only the knucklehead lawmakers leave them alone.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.