Addicted to a Fantasy?

Share:

February 9, 2016

For some fans, the explosion of the daily fantasy sports industry has meant big bucks.

For many others, daily fantasy can be a losing bet — especially so for problem gamblers.

“It would be akin to an alcoholic finding out about a whole new street of bars that he or she never knew about,” Josh Adams, a recovering gambling addict, says of the moment he discovered daily fantasy sports in the below excerpt from The Fantasy Sports Gamble, tonight’s new FRONTLINE documentary.

The film is a collaboration with The New York Times, which reported on Friday that both the F.B.I. and the I.R.S. division of criminal investigation are now looking into how fantasy sports affect problem gamblers.

Unlike other forms of Internet gaming, fantasy sports were exempted from a 2006 law Congress passed that outlawed most forms of online gambling. That loophole paved the way for the rise of the daily fantasy sports industry — whose leaders describe the contests as a games of skill and entertainment, not gambling.

And that’s how it looked to another gambling addict, Paul — who thought he had his addiction under control when he began playing daily fantasy.

“I didn’t think it was gambling,” says Paul, who asked FRONTLINE and The New York Times to conceal his identity because he’s afraid of ruining his career prospects.

Paul says he lost $60,000 through daily fantasy sports. Like Adams — who says he ultimately lost close to $20,000 — he says he’s now stopped playing. But for both men, ubiquitous advertising from market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel remains a trigger.

“The only urges I still have is when I see the daily fantasy sports advertising,” Adams says in the below excerpt. “They leave out what they are taking in. And they don’t say that there are going to be more losers than there are winners.”

For more on daily fantasy sports — which an increasing number of attorneys general now say constitute illegal gambling — watch The Fantasy Sports Gamble. The documentary investigates the meteoric rise of daily fantasy sports, the serious challenges facing the industry, and the wider world of online sports gambling — which saw an estimated $140 billion in illegal sports betting in 2014, despite laws meant to stop it.

The Fantasy Sports Gamble begins Tues., Feb. 9, on PBS and online at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST. Check your local PBS station for details.


Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@ptaddonio

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Ex-MPD Officer Thomas Lane Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter Charge for Role in George Floyd’s Murder
He was one of three officers convicted in federal court and expected to face trial next month on state charges.
May 18, 2022
9 Documentaries That Provide Context on the Buffalo Shooting
As America grapples with the deadly massacre, FRONTLINE's past reporting sheds light on the current moment and the circumstances that led to it, from guns to America's history of racist killings.
May 17, 2022
War Crimes Watch: Targeting Ukraine Schools, Russia Bombs the Future
The destruction of schools is about more than toppling buildings and maiming bodies, experts told our reporting partner The Associated Press. It hinders a nation’s ability to rebound after the fighting stops, injuring entire generations.
May 17, 2022
Minneapolis Agrees to Pay $200,000 to Settle Discrimination Complaints by Two Former Police Officers
Colleen Ryan alleged she was denied promotion because she's an openly gay woman, while former Deputy Chief Art Knight alleged his demotion was retaliatory.
May 12, 2022