The two biggest fantasy sports websites have agreed to discontinue their online gambling contests on college sports in all 50 states. This will go into effect immediately after the big basketball tournament comes to an end this week.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel have been embroiled in a legal battle in New York over their practices, which fall into a grey area in the state’s gambling laws. They’ve already suspended all of their contests in the state until a court ruling decides their next steps. The two companies operate fantasy contests in which users pay a fee to build a fantasy lineup each week, with the chance to win big money depending on how their chosen athletes perform. It’s sort of a game, but it’s also sort of gambling.
This gambling aspect is a big problem with the NCAA, which has its own rules restricting gambling of any sort. The NCAA believes that this can have a detrimental effect on the student-athletes and compromises the integrity of the games, which are, after all, just games. Most importantly, these are games played by young people. The way things are in the world of sports these days, it is hard to remember that the kids who play college sports are still just kids and students first. They don’t get paid for what they do.
Studies conducted by the NCAA found that a large percentage of the student-athletes themselves are wagering on games, which may lead to other risky behaviors in the future. Another huge problem though, is that outside people using websites like FanDuel or DraftKings have gone so far as to contact student-athletes in order to find inside information that will help them make the best choices in their fantasy games. That’s pretty weird, and it can also put a lot of undue pressure on these kids who don’t want to disappoint their fans.
Wagering on sports is mostly all in good fun, but for the sake of the kids, it’s best to leave it for professional games only. Both websites will still operate as usual when it comes to all other non-NCAA sports.