Fantasy sport is a virtual game based on real sports events. Fantasy players act as team managers, create prototypes of real athletes, and then compete between each other. Depending on the results performed by the players in reality, their prototypes earn certain amount of points. The winner becomes a manager whose team get the maximum number of points.

Being widely disseminated in the United States and Canada, fantasy sports are played by every sixth resident there, consequently establishing prize funds of tens of millions of dollars. Following these countries, fantasy industry started to conquer Europe, where fantasy football got large popularity.

As for now, fantasy sports continues its further expansion throughout the world.

Read also: Analysis of fantasy sports market in Europe and CIS countries

The game itself is dynamic and exciting; however, the rules of fantasy sports are very clear. Fantasy tournaments are divided into two types:

  1. Seasonal. These are long-term tournaments continuing throughout the championship.
  2. Daily. Short-term tournaments allow competing within a match, day, or tour.

The following statistics confirm an incredible growth rate of fantasy sports: the market has increased tenfold over the past three years and, according to experts, has already exceeded $1 billion in 2017.

Read also: DFS development prospects in 2017 – Fantasy sport

Reasons for popularity and actual continuity

Due to a rapid development, easy rules and excitement they delivers, daily games gained instant popularity among players.

Daily fantasy sports award players with emotions as those, which real sports fans receive while watching matches. Moreover, huge numbers of participants give rise to impressive prizes.

According to Forbes magazine, American leading company, FanDuel, invested over $80 million in the market. Together with DraftKings, they are official sponsors of the world-famous sports clubs such as NBA, NHL, MLB, and NASCAR.

Thus: Daily fantasy sports are considered as a fancy, interesting, fascinating, popular entertainment that also may turn up as a profitable hobby.

Legislation and fantasy sports

In the last decade, fantasy sports has transformed into a serious profitable business. Of course, it is still a long away from betting market, but its growth rate potential are hitting all records.

Legislation plays a major role in the industry's development. Governments should create an environment that facilitates the involvement of operators and the attraction of players. But the laws of many countries do not yet contain a definition of "fantasy sports", for this reason it remains an unregulated activity.

Fantasy sports is less demanded in the countries that legalized a bookmaking in one way or another (for example in Russian Federation, CIS, and Europe). While in the USA where sports betting is fully prohibited, fantasy shows much better figures.

Until recently, United States defined fantasy sport as a skill game but not a gambling one, so that any federal laws did not ban the field. However, almost a billion turnover quickly brought attention of legislators. A number of states were attempting to ban fantasy sports, but so far, the situation is in favor of these games: as of September 2017, yet 15 states fully legalized fantasy sports on their territories.

Fantasy is also gaining popularity in countries of Asia, the Near and Middle East, Ukraine, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and other regions around the world.

Is fantasy sports a gambling?

There have been waging lots of disputes as for a classification of fantasy sports. The most hotly discussed topics address its regulation.

It is believed that fantasy sports are skill games. Since its strategy is based on the player's knowledge of athletes and opportunities they can perform during the competition.

On the other hand, this strategy is applied to real player's actions in real sporting events. In addition, here there's always an element of randomness. Therefore, the strategy build up by players has a large share of risk. Nevertheless, with that said, fantasy game linked with monetary gains can be classified as a gambling.

Many gambling experts believe that fantasy is an alternative to betting and poker activities.

Bookmakers claim that a paid fantasy leagues are similar to sports betting, therefore they consider it as a gambling. In doing so, they point out clear signs of gambling: player runs the risk of his money for something that he can't be sure of, as the outcome is influenced by circumstances beyond his control.

Read also: Fantasy, virtual sports and eSports betting and bets on real sporting events

Attitude towards fantasy sports in the world

In many European countries, as well as in 15 states of the United States, fantasy is classified and legalized according to the law.

In Canada and Latin America, fantasy is identified as sports betting. They are allowed there, which means there's no problem with the further development of fantasy market.

In Australia and Oceania, its status is not defined, but as a gambling it is allowed. Therefore, it develops and gain more and more popularity with each day.

Virtually, all Asian countries are currently considering or revising their legislative systems on gambling. So far, fantasy status is undefined and unregulated there. However, its growing popularity in the region is a prerequisite for its early legalization.

As for CIS, Near and Middle Eastern countries, fantasy is classified as a kind of gambling and falls under the prohibition. However, the dwellers of these regions use foreign sites to gamble. For example, Russia's fantasy sport now shows steady growth.

Turning to Africa, it is an emerging fantasy market on the continent, that's why it is not certainly banned there.

How profitable and perspective it can be for operators

Experience has shown that fantasy sports is a profitable business that covers a huge part of sports fans, betting fans and gamblers.

Currently, regions with great potential (Europe, CIS, Asia, Latin America, Australia) are only partially covered by large operators, so competition is still low within that area.

The major outline of fantasy sports are the benefits they offer investors and operators:

  • Lack of legislative prohibitions in many countries where betting is prohibited, fantasy sport is not classified as a sports betting and an operator gets better conditions for the development of his business.
  • Minimum Commission. Due to the fact that in a number of countries fantasy is not classified as gambling and therefore does not fall under elevated tax rates, operators may set a minimum margin that is lower than at betting office. This will give you an important competitive advantage and attract players.

Read also: East European Fantasy Sports market through affiliate's eyes

Prospects for the future

Today, fantasy sports can be considered as one of several forms in betting, as a kind of gambling, as well as an autonomous area.

In the US and Canada, this is not gambling, but fantasy has already proven itself as an alternative to bookmaking and poker, and therefore continues growing rapidly. This success speaks eloquently of the enormous potential of the industry throughout the world.

In the company of Slotegrator, we believe that an operator who will rush to develop this field in regions where the market is still insufficiently saturated would have a multiplier effect on their investments.