With poker at the center of our universe here at PokerNews, it's often easy to overlook everything else going on in the gaming industry. Today we're bringing you information on Fantasy Football, and Tiger Woods.
Does Fantasy Football Count as Gambling?
While scouring the news for interesting gambling stories we came across the story of a former Fidelity Investments account representative who was fired for participating in a fantasy football league. According to Fidelity, Cameron Pettigrew was in "violation of company gambling policy involving fantasy football."
This interesting article written by the Wall Street Journal's Nano Di Fino discusses Pettigrew's situation and fantasy football's potential to be a "gateway" to other harder forms of gambling (similar to the drug war rhetoric that claimed smoking pot would lead people to do harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine). Unfortunately for Pettigrew, his previous two years of exemplary behavior counted for nothing once the Fidelity federales caught wind that he was managing his team on company time.
According to the article, Fidelity claims that fantasy football is a form of gambling (hence against company policy) and therefore it is not allowed during working hours. There may be some credence to this in that money is wagered in many fantasy leagues, and it took place during company hours but it leaves us wondering how serious a threat fantasy sports really are.
We come from a world linked to gambling, so it is hard for us to agree with the "gateway" theory that is suggested by several interview subjects in the article. This theory claims that fantasy sports are a gateway to harder forms of gambling like sports betting. As of this article, we know of no cases where a person has lost the ranch on their fantasy team and tried to win it back by gambling at higher stakes. In other words, as with drug propaganda, there is little proof that this link exists and if it does, the percentage is so small that no one knows about these people.
Although Pettigrew's firing seems more like a cheap way to downsize than a legitimate claim of gambling on company time, Fidelity's decision to lump fantasy football with gambling once again reminds us that people fear what they don't understand.
Considering that fantasy football leagues can be used as a tool to build camaraderie and can be used to strengthen inter-office relationships, one has to wonder why Fidelity continues to view playing fantasy sports as a threat instead of evolving with the times. People need a break during the day and if they want to spend their 15 minutes picking which player should start for his team, they should be allowed to do so. Now if they are running off to place a bet with a bookie during their break, that's a completely different story.
Tiger Woods May Be the World's Biggest Gambler
It is almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or go to a news Web site without seeing a story about the world's greatest golfer. Unfortunately for Tiger Woods, the focus has been on his social life swinging instead of his golf swing and things haven't been going well. Now the press is leaking stories of Woods' gambling escapades in Las Vegas where he would hang out with people like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkely while surrounding himself by a bevy of beauties and gambling millions.
This leads us to wonder whether Woods is the world's biggest gambler. The first reason to give him this accolade is his infidelity. Despite being married to a beautiful wife and having two kids, Woods repeatedly tossed the dice by hooking up with women and hoping he wouldn't get caught. Unfortunately for Woods, his escapades became public, which in essence is equivalent to coming up snake eyes at the dice table, and he now is looking at a possible divorce.
The second reason he deserves this accolade is that he gambled on his future sponsorship deals. As one of the world's top company and product endorsers, Woods repeatedly risked millions in future income. For Woods, this game of Russian roulette backfired and several of his biggest clients have jumped ship.
The third and final reason why he may the world's biggest gambler is that he repeatedly put himself in a position where the odds were against him so he could find a short-term payout of pleasure. Going to Las Vegas and gambling millions while being surrounded by working girls is a recipe for disaster, and Woods courted this risk-versus-rewards scenario when he was in town visiting hot-spots such as the Mansion and Tryst, which are well-known for catering to the needs of their high rollers.
In other words, Woods was playing high-stakes blackjack by surrounding himself with temptation on a regular basis despite knowing that the chances of not succumbing to the vices available to him were slim to none. If vices are like the House (a casino), then Woods was playing a game against a huge edge and was bound to bust eventually. He never stood a chance.
Maybe lady luck will swing Woods' way in the future but for now we think he may want to stop taking so many risks and rebuild his stack (life).