Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) might hold the same kind of structure and ideas as online casino games, but they are not classed as gambling; in fact, they’re in an entire league of their own, classed as games of ‘skill.’ Because they fall into this category, DFS games are permitted within the United States, whereas online gambling is not. However, some professionals are arguing that if gambling in online casinos is banned, then so should DFS games be too, as they are played for the same reason; to achieve that feel good feeling inside of our brains that are released when we take risks, such as in gambling and in DFS games.
Gambling and DFS games are both forms of entertainment that can easily- and quickly- lead to addictive behaviors. But how does this happen?
Well, several years worth of studying the brain, images, and test results have shown that when we gamble- be that in traditional gambling or in Fantasy Sports games– the rewards circuit in our brain is triggered. An enormous amount of a chemical called dopamine is released, and this makes us feel good. This chemical is also released when we take drugs and when we drink alcohol, so it’s easy to spot the link to dopamine and addictive behaviors straight away.
Interestingly, though, when it comes to gambling and DFS, even when you don’t win a bet, the rewards circuit is still triggered, and dopamine is still released, which causes individuals to want to continue gambling. Because of the dopamine hits, some people can’t resist the urges- they want to feel that buzz, that high, they want to feel good all of the time, and so they keep gambling until it starts to become an unhealthy addiction.