Fantasy Sports League Launches Platform for Money Leagues
Star Fantasy Leagues announced on Monday that it had launched a pay-to-play software platform that allows its members to draft fantasy sports teams and compete in leagues for money. The announcement is well-timed as it comes just a few weeks prior to the beginning of the 2014 National Football League (NFL) season, where the overwhelming majority of fantasy sports revenue comes from.
Star Fantasy Leagues, Inc. (SFL) was formed in 2012 in Rochester, N.Y., by Justin and Zach Stanley, two brothers who were both longtime fantasy sports enthusiasts. The SFL’s philosophy is to be a leader in innovation from both a technological standpoint and in the selection of games it offers. It allows the creation of fantasy teams derived from all major professional sports leagues based in the U.S. and Canada.
Users can participate in leagues that last as long as the entire season or as short as one game. To participate in a money league, funds must be deposited into an account. There is also an optional non-money format that allows the accumulation of Star Points, which can be redeemed for prizes. These points can also be used in lieu of entry fees in money leagues.
As far as the legality of fantasy sports for cash goes, the U.S. government determined that these were games of skill, not chance, and therefore exempt from gambling laws like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont however, have made such games illegal through state laws.
Fantasy football is big business. So much so that it generates more revenue than the league it’s based on does. According to an August 2013 Forbes article by Brian Goff, the NFL gets almost $10 billion in revenue, but about $11 billion is spent on fantasy football, not including ad revenue. That’s nearly three-fourths of all fantasy sports revenue, which the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates to be $15 billion.
Many aspects of the SFL make it appealing to fantasy sports enthusiasts. The variety of game formats; the support for several different payment methods; an appealing user interface and dedication to customer service combine to make it a great service. The company’s long-term success is going to come down to how well it will get the word out and be able to get new members in a highly competitive market.
Edited by Alisen Downey