Sunday, August 7, 2016

Daily Sports Fantasy Games

I have a friend who is a bachelor and is retired. This allows him ample time to devote his attention to whatever he wants because there is no one else around to distract him. No one to tell, or ask him to do anything.

And while to the untrained eye he appears to be doing absolutely nothing, he is in fact keeping tabs on the pulse of the American people. He simultaneously listens to all sorts of talk radio and watches all the news shows, cable and otherwise. His fingers work faster than a surgeon's with the remote.

A favorite object of his attention is "Mikey." To those of you who don't immediately know who this is, I'll fill you in. It's Mike Francesa on WFAN radio, which apparently you can also watch on a cable TV channel. Televised radio. What will they think of next?

To say Mikey is opinionated, rude, arrogant, gruff, impatient, wrong, seriously wrong, occasionally right, and narcissistic is probably leaving out 50 more adjectives you can use to describe him, mostly negative. But he is hugely popular, despite being the man you'd shudder to think of being stuck in an elevator with. In fact, from the little I know of Mikey, he's the man I'd least likely enjoy sharing an elevator ride with, even if we were only going up, or down, one floor.

Now you'll have to know a bit of the controversy surrounding Daily Fantasy Sports, online games of chance, or skill, where the players risk money to create mythical teams of players who are virtually competing against the other players who are creating their mythical teams of players. It's made for the smartphone Millennial generation, but has its origins in the Rotisserie League that was created decades ago by a group of literary men during their excessively long lunch hours, fueled by their interest in sports and aided with the intake of alcohol and some food.

Two companies were running these online gaming versions and were minting money. The fallout in the law came when it couldn't be decided if the activity could be considered an effort of skill, which would make the games exempt from gambling laws, or really were games of chance, which would place them under the umbrella of gambling legislation. (Why gambling itself can't be seen as an effort of skill is beyond me, but who am I?)

With semantics in play, the Daily Fantasy Sports games were shut down in New York earlier this year. Mikey was ecstatic. He expressed his opposition to them in no uncertain times whenever he could, and was at his height of rage as they were becoming part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They were a moral outrage to Mikey.

I'm going to borrow a line from someone who told me about the way someone he knew described angry basketball coaches.

New York's Governor Cuomo just the other day signed a bill that defined the the activity of playing Daily Fantasy Sports as being legal, no matter how you described it. DFS would start again in a few days, just in time for the the start of the football season.

Mikey became apoplectic. He was so beside himself that no crazier pair of individuals ever existed on the radio.

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