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Nevada gives its first license to a daily fantasy sports game

Engadget Engadget 25/06/2016 Richard Lawler
Nevada Gaming Board approval of USFantasy © Provided by Engadget Nevada Gaming Board approval of USFantasy © Provided by Engadget

Nevada's gaming board shut down daily fantasy games from DraftKings and FanDuel late last year for fairly obvious reasons: they're gambling, and they need a license to operate in the state. Now for the first time, the board has issued a license to a daily fantasy operator called USFantasy. Unsurprisingly, the Vegas-approved fantasy game is planning to operate through the race and sports books of casinos, and won't look much like other daily fantasy sports games.

Instead of a "salary cap" limited team, the games players choose athletes at a particular position and bet where they'll rank at the position. Called a pari-mutuel system, it's a lot more like horse racing than fantasy sports. In an interview with ESPN, president Vic Salerno said that for players "it feels like 80 to 90 percent will get some money back." That's different from current daily fantasy games, where much of the winnings go to a relatively small group of elite players.

The company claims it's the first DFS license granted by any regulatory body in the US, and the big question is if others will follow. USFantasy appears to embrace its status as a form of gambling, and a game that's not exactly the same as what we've seen before. On the other hand, the existing crop of games that have spun out from older rotisserie-style fantasy leagues insist they are games of skill, and won't be so accepting of tight regulation.

PRNewswire, Nevada Gaming Board

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