Mark Cuban is throwing the book at lawmakers over fantasy sports.
The Dallas Mavericks owner wrote an op-ed for USA Today Monday on why politicians like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California Assemblyman Marc Levine are "wrong and misguided" in their attempts to ban daily fantasy sports. Cuban even called the two men out for trying to "make a name for themselves" for promoting tough restrictions on the sector. Schneiderman has characterized fantasy sports as contests of chance and therefore the same as illegal gambling.
Cuban has backed two fantasy sports companies in the past year--SportRadar and Fantasy Labs--and says the industry is an "innovation" that needs to be "preserved and protected." Here are three reasons he cites for why fantasy sports should be embraced by all politicians.
1. It's not the same as gambling.
Fantasy sports is a game of skill that is "fundamentally different" than gambling, Cuban writes. While gamblers place bets on specific sports contests, fantasy users are not betting on the outcome of individual games--they're competing against others by seeing who can pick the top performing players. Cuban even equates the game to the way he and the Mavericks's president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson run their team: by collecting data, analyzing it, and making decisions based on their analysis. "We succeed in the same way that most sophisticated people play daily fantasy sports--by making accurate predictions," Cuban writes. "Like any complicated endeavor, it is equal parts art and science."
2. The industry is already implementing sensible regulation.
After fantasy sports startups DraftKings and FanDuel were rocked by a scandal akin to insider trading last year, numerous states have taken legislative action to establish "sensible regulation" that helps clarify why fantasy sports deserves the status of a legal industry, Cuban writes. He also concedes that there is room in the sector for some "reasonable restrictions." In total, at least 20 state legislatures have already gotten started (or plan to this year) with taking up fantasy sports legislation.
3. Fantasy sports create enormous value--and jobs.
With more than 50 million players in the U.S. and Canada, fantasy sports is creating enormous value for sectors including entertainment, sports, and tech, Cuban argues. "They are complementary to just about every entertainment product I enjoy and that we, as Americans, collectively love," he writes. "We are witnessing the next generation of entrepreneurs building small businesses across the country, creating jobs and new technologies."
Despite the efforts of certain lawmakers, the fantasy sports industry shows no signs of going away anytime soon, Cuban says, as soon, more Americans are expected to play fantasy sports than regular sports.
"Good luck telling these folks that they are criminals for doing something that is its own American national pastime," he writes.