Fantasy sports are largely protected under the law. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 exempts fantasy sports on the premise that they are based on skill, not chance. Other court decisions have allowed the use of real-time wireless statistical distribution and upheld fantasy providers’ right to athletes’ biographical information.
Fantasy sports have had pronounced effects on American fan culture. Fans are more likely to watch sports on television and attend games once becoming fantasy owners. Fantasy sports have also connected Americans to international sports. English Premiere League soccer league and the Olympics, for instance, have fantasy leagues available to Americans.
Socially, fantasy sports promote camaraderie via competitive, yet friendly, rivalries between league owners. The mainstream hit television comedy series, The League, demonstrates this phenomenon, encapsulating the lives of six friends engaged in an intensely competitive fantasy football league.
Fantasy sports have even transcended into the American workplace. Michael Henby’s informational book, Fantasy Kick, illustrates his theories and testimonies that fantasy sports elevate networking abilities and enhance career opportunities.
Fantasy sports have also been marked by controversy. Addiction to fantasy sports have led to the formation of social groups such as Women Against Fantasy Sports (WAFS), a website for women to bond over their loved ones’ obsessions with fantasy sports.
A 2008 ESPN article featured the conflicting perspectives of several NFL athletes on fantasy football. Some players appreciated the ability of fantasy sports to bring athletes and fans together.
Others, like former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer think fantasy football has “ruined the game,” encouraging fans to root for fantasy rather than hometown rosters. Fantasy sports may even affect athletes’ on field performance due to pressure from fantasy owners via letters and personal encounters.