|With more than 15 million baseball fans who participate in Fantasy Leagues on websites such as Yahoo, a new Internet gambling frontier could be around the corner.|
While the concept has existed since 1980, soon after free agency made it impossible for a fan to count on a long-term relationship with a favorite player. To combat this, a group of writers and editors created the Rotisserie League. Now, most major sports from soccer, cricket, baseball, ice hockey to the NASCAR, have fantasy leagues, ranging from informal groups of school kids to legions of investment bankers and international online organizations.
Ronald Kamm, President of the International Society for Sport Psychiatry says that Fantasy leagues offer a chance for community and for bonding. He also points out that obsessive Fantasy-league play could lead to gambling, particularly in fantasy leagues sponsored by casinos on the Internet.
Richard Lustberg, who operates Psychologyofsports.com, says: ‘Fantasy leagues reflect our consumer culture. People are becoming more and more objects to be replaced. In that sense, fantasy sports is reflecting and following a trend. Lustberg points out that fans beginning to identify not with players, but with owners and general managers, the powers that control players.
While, online gambling sites are yet to explore the market potential of Fantasy League, currently the online sports wagering market is worth billions of dollars. Converting evangelizing millions of these passionate sports lovers to raise the excitement levels by betting for money could be high on the agenda for most online operators.