Experts says Canada Provinces should Regulate DFS Betting
Daily Fantasy Sports betting (aka DFS) is immensely popular throughout North America, and has been for years. It’s not an illegal betting activity in Canada, but is not explicitly legal or regulated either, as it is in some US states. Now, an expert in gambling research is calling for regulation of DFS betting in Canada.
Prof. Jeffrey Derevensky of McGill University says that, ultimately, DFS is a gambling activity. As such, he believes it’s the responsibility of Canada’s provincial lottery corporations to regulate the activity, providing the same player protections afforded to traditional live and online gamblers.
“When you’re putting money down to win money and there’s a probability that you’re not going to win money, then that’s gambling,” said Prof. Derevensky.
Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Basics
Daily fantasy sports betting is unlike standardized gambling activities, such as lottery, poker and casino games, and also differs from season-long fantasy sports leagues. With DFS betting, players pay a fee to enter a contest, then draft a roster of players from all teams scheduled to play that day.
Each player earns points based on their roster’s performance, and compete against other DFS fans for the total prize pool. Thus, as Derevensky said, money is being paid in hopes of winning more money back. And the fact that DFS sites collect a portion of each prize pool – much like the rake in a poker game – makes it difficult to deny the activity’s definition as gambling.
Call For DFS Betting Regulation
The gambling researcher is urging Canadian provinces to integrate daily fantasy sports betting into their current regiment of regulated gambling activities. He says lottery corporations, like the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG), Loto-Quebec, and British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC), are best equipped to regulate DFS betting.
Provincial gambling regulators already have the power and know-how to enforce player protection services – the same player protections that currently exist in all forms of regulated gambling. These include such services as identity verification and age verification, as well as self-exclusion programs and the option to set daily betting limits.
“Any form of fantasy should have those same kind of responsible gambling features built into their site,” Derevensky said.
Regulation Unlikely Anytime Soon
Up to this point, the Canadian government has taken no solid position on the matter of DFS betting – whether it’s legal, illegal, or even worthy of being defined as gambling. If legislators were to deem the activity gambling, it would become illegal by default, unless regulated by provincial governments. But as we’ve seen with other online gambling activities, most provinces don’t bother to take action against “illegal” gambling operators unless the operations has a physical presence on Canadian soil.
The situation is different in the US, where some states have moved to criminalize DFS betting, and others have taken steps to regulate the activity. This variable legal stance has caused major DFS operators like DraftKings to evacuate some US jurisdictions, while obtaining the proper licences in states where it’s now legally regulated.
According to the professor, daily fantasy sports betting would provide provinces with a new opportunity to grow their existing commodities with a new and proven-popular product. Derevensky is scheduled to speak at today’s New Horizons in Responsible Gaming Conference, hosted by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
BCLC spokeswoman Angela Koulyras said the regulator has no plans to incorporate daily fantasy sports betting on its website at the moment. However, she did note that that BCLC recognizes “that DFS is growing in popularity and interest and we’re just keeping a close eye on it at this time.”
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