Inside daily fantasy sports: How easy is it to win?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 9, 2015)-- Bragging rights and big money are on the line, as fantasy sports gaming swells in popularity and profits. You’ve likely seen advertisements for sites like FanDuel and DraftKings. Both are spending millions in advertising this year to get you to play.

Industry analysts believe the two have spent at least $100 million in September.

“There’s now a huge bunch of capital behind these sites, so that’s why they can afford to spend what you’re seeing on the commercials,” said Dustin Gouker, a reporter with LegalSportsReport.com.

He’s watched the industry grow, with FanDuel and DraftKings netting hundreds of millions in investment to recruit new players.

A handful of other sites have also emerged in the daily fantasy scene.

Gouker said the target demo for fantasy sports is mostly males, and the types of games run the gamut from prize pools, to leagues, or head-to-head match ups. The goal every time is simple, to win big.

“There’s people who are professionals at DFS. This is what they do for a living, and they’re going to win money over the long term,” said Gouker.

Gouker said a casual player might find it tough to win, though it’s possible. Reason being is because fantasy sports are shaping up like poker. Professional sharks are out there, cutting chances for the little guy to cash in.

“It’s definitely a losing proposition for a casual player right now,” Gouker said.

Professional sharks rely on statistics and predictive models to beat the odds. They’re also counting on amateurs to bring their cash to the online playing field.

You might call Bryce Mauro a shark.

“I make well over six figures doing this,” he said.

The DePauw senior is studying economics and putting his problem-solving mind to use to win.

“I probably put in forty hours a week across all sports. You get to play against player who aren’t researching it and who aren’t doing as much as I am with it,” he said.

“There’s absolutely skill involved, but it’s also gambling. That skill edge that the pros have, it gives them an edge,” said Gouker.

Jerry Long is Executive Director of the Indiana Council on Problem Gambling. He’s impressed by the meteoric rise of fantasy sports betting but says with that uptick will come people who get in too deep.

“The advertising is certainly amazing,” he said, “Certainly some folks will let this lead to a problem. These folks do it for the excitement and their ego.”

Long said the state has resources to help with anti-gambling counseling available free of charge.

“No one would turn anyone away if they had this problem,” he said.

Still, questions circle around the fantasy sports industry, one largely unregulated and highly popular.

“I think we’re actually probably going to see a Congressional hearing about daily fantasy sports in the near future,” said Gouker.

Daily fantasy sports did come under scrutiny this week, with the New York Times putting out an editorial saying that fantasy gambling must be reined in.

A scandal also erupted, reported by national and international media, when it was revealed that a DraftKings employee published roster data inadvertently, then won $350,000 on FanDuel. DraftKings said an investigation showed that employee did not win through an unfair advantage.

Various media sources reported Tuesday that the New York Attorney General would launch an inquiry into DraftKings and FanDuel.

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