Gamblers Anonymous Considers Classifying Fantasy Sports as a “Problematic” Form of Gaming
Gamblers Anonymous is considering adding fantasy sports to its list of gambling addiction types. If so, the categorization would be a blow to the daily fantasy sports industry’s attempts to their industry from sports betting.
A Washington DC NBA News affiliate reported that the local Gamblers Anonymous group was recommending changes which would list DFS as a problem game. Many of the activities GA meetings discuss include those games which most people would view as gambling. Some might not be necessarily considered gambling, though they could be troublesome for someone who struggles with compulsive betting.
In the addiction-recovery community, Gamblers Anonymous is the compulsive betting equivalent of Alcoholics Anonymous. The organization offers a 12-step program to anyone willing to admit they have a problem and need support making a change. Like other 12-step programs, GA includes sponsors, group meetings, and a great deal of soul searching.
The group consider a group many activities as potentially “problematic”. All have to do with risking money on some form of speculation. Though the Washington DC group might or might not vote DFS into its list, it would seem only a matter of time before some chapter decides to list the daily fantasy sports as a game which could lead to compulsive behavior. When it does, another wave of reports will discuss the vote. In the public mind, the link between gambling and fantasy sports will be strengthened.
Addition to the Combo Book?
In the NBC4 segment, it was said Gamblers Anonymous might add the term “fantasy sports” to the list of addictive behaviors covered in their Combo Book. The Combo Book is a recovery guide which GA members are advised to carry with them at all times.
The Combo book contains list a number of activities as “problematic”: card playing, casino gambling, and the purchase of bingo, lottery or raffle tickets. It includes sports betting, horse betting, and even office sports pools.
The Recovery Guide’s List
Traditional games of chance are not the only listed activities. The recovery guide contains a number of forms of trading, including investment in stocks, commodities, or binary options. While these are not listed as gambling. hese are listed as activities which might be problematic for individuals who have difficulty controlling their gambling activity.
Measure “Could Very Well Pass”
An official for the DC-area Gamblers Anonymous told NBC4 that the measure “could very well pass.” He said that since FanDuel and DraftKings began gaining more public attention a year or two ago, “There has been a lot of trustee talk about it.”
The discussion comes at a time when the online daily fantasy industry is fighting a rearguard action against public sentiment their hobby is gambling. With the increased visibility through television and radio ads, mainstream media outlets across the United States are beginning to write stories about the possibility–and in some cases the need–for regulation.
Anti-DFS Forces Could Coalesce
America is full of politicians will to champion any cause to get attention. The traditional gaming industry has never shown hesitation in going after potential competitor. No doubt, the Las Vegas sportsbooks see DFS as a serious rival, just as Sheldon Adelson sees online casinos as a rival to his land-based gaming empire.
Many in the gaming niche believe it is only a matter of time before FanDuel and DraftKings face government interference. The question is whether their DFS services will have to face regulations which would lower profits at a time the main competitors are trying to invest in advertising, or whether they will face the real threat of a government ban.
No Federal Ban Likely
At the moment, the UIGEA provides a legal refuge for daily fantasy sports. Most don’t see a federal ban as likely, but individual states are looking at the industry. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board announced it had commissioned a report this week, while 5 states have banned DFS at present.
Whatever happens, being classified among the forms of gambling by a respected organization like Gamblers Anonymous is unwelcome. If GA bring problem DFS gaming into the open, journalists are sure to report on those cases eventually. When they do, the gap between sportsbooks and DFS will close even more.
FanDuel and DraftKings have not helped themselves with the aggressive style of their ads. FanDuel aired an infamous commercial once which began with, “After I played the first time, I was hooked.”
Said like a true gambling addict.