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The NFL is king, and that also goes for the world of daily fantasy sports.

DraftKings, one of the top fantasy sports apps and websites in the country, saw 86 percent of DFS players participate in one paid NFL contest in 2014, according to a study presented by Sarah Nelson, the associate director for research at the division of addiction at Harvard Medical School.

Nelson was one of four presenters who spoke at the recent International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking at Caesars Palace. She moderated a panel titled “Understanding Daily Fantasy Sports from the Inside: Results from the Division on Addiction.”

According to Nelson’s study, of the 12,041 daily fantasy players selected from Aug. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2014, there were 10,385 players that participated in one NFL contest with winnings up for grabs. Of those numbers, 71 percent of the players were male.

But Nelson also attributed those numbers to say there is correlation between gambling and daily fantasy sports. While there is money involved, the daily ongoing of the sports world can make headway for some sort of addiction.

“Rapid cycling nature and increased accessibility make it more dangerous than season-long fantasy,” she said.

Season-long fantasy sports, the long epicenter of fantasy team construction and prize winnings, has taken a step back in recent years to the surge of apps such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

There is a clear discrepancy between entertainment and competition between the two fantasy worlds, as Ryan Martin, associate professor at East Carolina, highlighted in his study titled “Examining Gambling-related Problems and Participation-related Motivations among a Sample of Daily Fantasy Sports Players.”

Martin used 12 motivations, ranking the top five, in peoples’ purpose for daily fantasy sports. By ways of a mean average, daily fantasy sports saw entertainment as more of a factor than competition, followed by love of sports, enjoyment and social interaction. Of the 178 participants in his study, 120 were male.

Social interaction and competition were the top scores on season-long fantasy sports. Entertainment wasn’t seen as much of a factor.

Martin used nine diagnostic criteria, established by the American Psychiatric Association, to determine if daily fantasy sports can result in a gambling disorder. Preoccupation and tolerance were two of the highest results.

“Those who participated in fantasy sports were more likely to have gambling-related problems,” he said.

Martin found that 38.8 of players won more money than they spent, but 34.3 percent lost more than allocated. More people (24.2 percent) said skill was more important than luck (21.3 percent).

Currently, 19 states have passed some sort of legislation on daily fantasy sports betting while 19 others have shut it down. Seven of those states, including Nevada, have not brought anything to a vote. FanDuel and DraftKings have not applied for gaming licenses in Nevada.

Last week in Louisiana, lawmakers were unable to come up with rules and taxes to permit fantasy sports to move forward in that state when the legislative session ended Thursday. And though voters approved fantasy sports, it could be two more years before it becomes legal in Louisiana where the debate continues as to whether to permit legalized sports betting along with allowing fantasy sports to move forward in 47 parishes that voted to allow DFS.

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About the Author
Danny Webster

Danny Webster

Danny Webster is an NHL columnist at Gaming Today. He is a graduate of UNLV whose work also appears on, Vegas Hockey Now, and SB Nation.

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