LAS VEGAS — If you equate daily fantasy sports to gambling, you’re an idiot.
That’s what Mark Cuban thinks, at least. The Dallas Mavericks owner, veteran entrepreneur, and Shark Tank investor spoke on a panel at the inaugural Sports Business Forum hosted by Turner Sports Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Cuban, who announced today that he’s an investor in a daily fantasy sports startup called Fantasy Labs, said that “you have to be an idiot” to think playing daily fantasy sports games are like sports betting or poker.
“It’s not gambling, it’s not gambling, it’s not gambling,” he repeated.
Cuban added: “The only people who think it’s gambling, as opposed to skill, are people who haven’t played or people who have other political agendas, because that’s also very important these days.”
The 57-year-old noted that Fantasy Labs is “killing it because people pay them a lot of money to do analytics for daily fantasy sports,” which gives users a chance to win millions of dollars by compiling the best lineup of players for a given game or week.
“If it was gambling like the lottery, you wouldn’t need to do that,” Cuban said of paying for a service like Fantasy Labs. “You would just play the game and take your chances.”
While fantasy sports have been around for a while, these new daily games are becoming more popular as of late. Rather than a typical season-long fantasy league that forces users to keep the same roster for months, FanDuel and DraftKings let people compile different lineups each week and pick from an array of money pools that have some serious payouts to top finishers.
“It’s very exciting,” said Joseph Raine, co-founder of Raine Group and an investor in DraftKings who also spoke on the panel. “It touches a passion that people have for their favorite players and favorite teams.”
But the games have also come under intense legal scrutiny, with some equating it to gambling and calling for tighter regulation. The big two daily fantasy sports sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, are in a battle with legislators in states like New York and Illinois. Just today, the New York Times Magazine posted a story titled “How the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Turns Fans Into Suckers.”
Still, Cuban remains bullish about the new games, noting today that “over 100 countries” allow sports betting.
“Even if we don’t figure it out here in the U.S., the rest of the world is still wide open,” he said, adding that if he’s ever an attorney general or governor one day, “I know exactly what to do.”