The concept of fantasy sports appeared back in the 1950s (when a fantasy golf league was created) but gained worldwide acceptance in the 1990s (when introduced online). During the last decade, this industry has grown enormously. Compare the numbers from 2012 ($2.9 billion) and 2015 ($26.4 billion) to see how in a period as small as three years online fantasy sports has increased the revenue. Already in 2015, this industry was larger than event promotions in the US!

Fantasy sports require building a virtual team of known professionals. Participants earn points for successful performance of a team they’ve built. It’s all about statistical information of particular leagues and athletes which defines how they will act in a fantasy team.

Daily fantasy sports (designed for competitions that last for a week or less) are now responsible for the biggest part of spendings and participants. In 2013, Major League Baseball became the first American organization that invested in this industry. This led to the emergence of many partnerships and fantasy-oriented content. There are currently two dominant services in the US: FanDuel and DraftKings.

Not a Form of Gambling

The question of whether fantasy sports is pure gambling was, and still is, actively discussed. With this entertainment growing in popularity, legislators were pushed to make new decisions. In 2017, 18 states legalized paid-entry contests like this. Fantasy sports ads on television are a normal thing, and this type of gaming is proven to be skill-based.

Knowing the roles of every sports team player can be compared to knowing the value of cards in skill-based table games. For example, blackjack is quite similar to fantasy sports betting in this regard, while baccarat card game (which is not countable and can’t promise positive expectations based on skills) is not. Keeping up-to-date with the world of sports, analyzing players’ performance, and thinking about how to find participants who will fit the best in your fantasy team is the core of this entertainment. For a seasoned fan, it is a fun way to beat others by using actual skills.

The research from 2012 suggests that we can determine that a game is based on skill rather than on chance if a player’s performance is persistent. It’s usually true that sports fans involved in gaming keep it constant over multiple rounds. Another research, targeted specifically at daily fantasy competitions, confirms such a view.

Skills You Can Improve

Also, there’s an opinion that fantasy sports betting can help you improve some skills that you can use in life:

  • analyzing the numbers (fantasy sports is all about making research and analysis, which is not an easy thing to do);
  • collecting information (reviewing reports and knowing how to apply data from them);
  • negotiating (performing trades to your league’s benefit is a great negotiation practice);
  • following a schedule (it can sharpen your time management skills.)

Betting on a virtual league is fun, however, it should be based on a strategy. Personal likes and dislikes have nothing to do with the players’ performance. While choosing a team, experienced sports fans don’t rely on individuals they like – they go for those who perform better. This is the only reasonable strategy: no matter to what extent a player corresponds to your preferences and principles, what you need to evaluate is how they score.


The FSTA (Fantasy Sports Trade Association) statistics show that the majority of players are well-educated men with decent salaries. As for their motivation, it’s rarely driven by monetary prizes. Fantasy sports lovers enjoy the opportunity to shape a virtual team using their knowledge and observance. It’s the competition with other sports fans that matters. Many players also claim this entertainment to be a form of quality time with friends.