Nonprofit Groups Expose the NFL’s Strategy to use Fantasy Sports to Addict Kids to Gambling

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the National Football League’s (NFL) position on sports gambling. They have long held to the belief that keeping the NFL a very far distance from gambling is in the league’s best interest. Recently that position has come into question with the NFL’s interest in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). This new form of gambling has taken most of the country by storm and state after state are either calling it illegal gambling or passing legislation to heavily regulate the industry. As is often the case, those with business and gambling interests make attempts to build a gambling base in people as early as possible. It would appear, according to several Nonprofit groups, that the NFL is taking a similar approach and marketing fantasy sports to kids. ESPN explains this controversial situation: 

Nonprofit groups are calling on the National Football League to stop offering fantasy sports competitions to children because they’re concerned the games could lead some young sports fans down the path of gambling addiction.

In letters being sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, the National Council on Problem Gambling and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood complain the NFL “aggressively marketed” a fantasy sports game on “NFL Rush,” its website and smartphone app for children, as well as on SIkids.com, Sports Illustrated’s website for children, and through an elementary school curriculum based on the contest.

The weekly “NFL Rush Fantasy” games ran throughout the football season and were open to children ages 6 to 12. Each week, an Xbox One console and Madden NFL 2016 video game was awarded to the contest’s top performer.

The two contest participants with the highest number of points at the end of the 17-week promotion also won a $5,000 check, which the league called a “scholarship,” plus a four-night trip to Hawaii to attend the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl game with up to two guests.

The NFL would claim that these are harmless games, that don’t amount to daily fantasy sports or gambling and simply offer a scholarship to help with education. The child advocacy groups believe otherwise. The New York Post provides their rationale:

Keith Whyte, executive director of the Washington, DC-based National Council on Problem Gambling, wrote in his letter to Goodell that the contests “may encourage children to spend excessive amounts of time trying to win these prizes, thus planting the seeds of addiction.”

Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based group that opposes child-targeted marketing, called the league’s fantasy sports-based curriculum “particularly egregious.”

‘Whether or not it constitutes daily fantasy sports, there is the bigger issue that it indoctrinates young children into a potentially harmful and addictive behavior’ – David Monahan of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

“NFL Rush Fantasy–Learn, Play, Score!” was a math and language arts program that required students to sign up for the NFL’s fantasy football game in order to access lesson materials and complete assignments.

“Educators should not be called upon to assist the NFL in promoting an activity which is potentially harmful and addictive when engaged in by children,” Golin wrote to Goodell.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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