[toc]In the face of pressure from the NCAA, daily fantasy sports operators have stuck to professional sports for the past couple of years.
Boom Fantasy has decided to shake things up for the college football postseason, though.
Boom is offering NCAA football contests for some of the major bowl games this season, beginning on Dec. 28. It appears to be the only DFS platform doing so, other than FanPicks. (The difference between the two sites is that Boom is regulated in many of the states that have passed DFS laws, while FanPicks is not.)
Boom Fantasy runs NCAA bowl contests
Boom Fantasy is a prediction-based DFS product. The startup was launched in 2016, and its uncommon approach is creating some interest. This announcement certainly raised a few eyebrows within the industry.
So far, two New Year’s Day games are available in the Boom Fantasy lobby, but more will be added shortly. Here’s the full schedule of bowl games Boom will run, according to the company:
- Dec. 28: Alamo Bowl – Stanford vs. TCU
- Dec. 29: Cotton Bowl – USC vs. Ohio State
- Dec. 30: Orange Bowl – Wisconsin vs. Miami
- Jan. 1: Citrus Bowl – Notre Dame vs. LSU
- Jan. 1: Rose Bowl – Georgia vs. Oklahoma
- Jan. 1: Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Clemson
Where can you play these college contests?
Boom’s professional contests are available to players in 35 states, but these will be more restrictive. Some states have laws specifically prohibiting collegiate contests, so players in those states will not be permitted to enter, either.
The blocked states include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
So these daily fantasy football contests are only available to customers in 27 states, but at least it’s something. With the rollout, Boom Fantasy becomes the first major DFS operator to offer college contests since early last year.
According to a statement on Twitter, it sees no reason not to.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has always maintained that college sports are fair game for fantasy sports. FanDuel and DraftKings offered real-money fantasy contests based on NCAA events for years, only removing them for lobbying/political purposes.
FanDuel, DraftKings ceased NCAA contests
The NCAA has always viewed daily fantasy sports with distaste, lumping it into the same category as sports betting.
In 2015, the “power five” conferences issued a letter to DraftKings and FanDuel requesting that they stop running contests based on their games. The Big 12 commissioner said he doesn’t “think anyone can suggest [DFS] isn’t gambling.”
Nobody really expected the big operators to yield, but they did. In 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel removed NCAA contests from their lobbies. That was because of an agreement with the NCAA.
It seemed to be a case of choosing which battles to fight. The industry was still trying to get a foothold with lawmakers in some places, and it would have been counterproductive to have a contentious relationship with the NCAA for contests that generated relatively little revenue at the time.
NCAA’s hard stance against sports speculation
Dozens of professional sports teams, leagues and arenas have partnered with DFS sites.
The same cannot be said of the NCAA, which has treated DFS and sports betting like the plague. Even where it’s legal to do so, NCAA athletes are prohibited from participating in either sports betting or paid-entry fantasy sports.
There is some hypocrisy from the NCAA in taking a hard line against DFS and sports betting — March Madness brackets, anyone? — but the league also seems to employ the equivalent of legislative blackmail.
The NCAA has withheld its Division I and II Championship events from New Jersey, a move seen as punishment for the state’s challenge of the federal sports betting ban. The NCAA is a litigant in the ongoing US Supreme Court case (Christie vs. NCAA) about the possible legalization of NJ sports betting and the constitutionality of the ban.
It’s reminiscent of the situation in Oregon, which used to have a sports betting lottery called “Sports Action.” The NCAA withheld tournament events from the state for years until it ended the product.
It has blackballed New Jersey in a similar way, and it’s going to have to make a decision on Pennsylvania soon, as well. The state recently became the fourth to legalize sports betting pending the outcome of Christie vs. NCAA.