PGRI Comment: The outcomes of random-number-generated gaming are 100% chance. The playing field is perfectly even, with players all having an equal opportunity to win. That’s not true for skill-based games. Players can apply knowledge, data, and other resources to give them an edge. That’s the whole point of skill-based games. Sounds fun, perhaps more interesting and stimulating than games where the ability of the player has absolutely no effect on the likelihood of winning. The prize pool in skill-based games will, by definition, migrate towards those who are applying more skill. The problem with this is that there is emerging a professional class of gamblers, and a professional class of managed fund investors, who are applying sophisticated computerized data-crunching “skills” to the world of recreational gaming. This gives them an edge. And even if the edge is small, the result is the vast majority of the prize pool will migrate towards this professional class of gamblers. It already is in Daily Fantasy Sports. So everyone does have an equal chance. But the individual should recognize that when they enter the ring, their opponent is the heavy-weight champion of the world; if it’s a golf tournament, you’re playing against Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcilroy; if it’s football; you’re quarterbacking your high school team against Tom Brady’s Patriots. I would think that the industry needs to figure this out in order to have a business model that is sustainable and will retain players going forward into the future.
With Daily Fantasy Sports industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings—both tied closely to the NFL—coming under heavy scrutiny from the government, it might be time for the NFL to rethink its conflicting stance on gambling. The gambling paradox in the NFL—and in all sports—is approaching an inevitable inflection point. The reality is that the NFL has accepted gambling—in softer tones—for some time. The NFL risks alienation for the hypocrisy of allowing, encouraging and monetizing fantasy football. It is time, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said, to bring gambling into the light, to embrace it in an open and honest manner with a clear and articulate policy that accepts the realities of the present.