New Form of Daily Fantasy Sports Coming to Racetracks Will Revolutionize Industry

A Hall of Fame bookmaker and a former executive consultant for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club are teaming up to offer a new version of daily fantasy sports, based on an old form of betting (pari-mutuel wagering), that could be coming to a race track near you.

It's called U.S. Fantasy, and it could be the next iteration of the game in the United States -- one that will embrace, not shy away, from its gambling roots.

"There are no legal definitions anywhere of what fantasy sports is," said U.S. Fantasy commissioner Mike Knapp. "Everybody's version of it is a little bit different.”

Knapp, a veteran of the Nevada sports betting industry, is an avid fantasy player and a lifelong horse player. He came up with his version of pari-mutuel fantasy sports roughly 10 years ago while consulting for racing officials in Montana. Knapp wanted to build off the popularity of the prop bets associated with the Super Bowl, but make it simpler and friendlier to the novice bettor. 

So just how would it work?

From ESPN.com:

The concept is simple: Imagine the odds on a horse race, posted on the screens at the racetrack or casino, but instead of horses there's a field of NFL quarterbacks, each with their own odds on who will throw for the most yards on a Sunday. You can bet on a quarterback to win, place or show. Pick-sixes and exactas can be created using other races like, for example, which running back rushes for the most yards. The end result is that you'll put up money in an attempt to win money by picking which players will produce the best statistics on any given day.

Longtime Nevada bookmaker and gaming executive Vic Salerno has joined forces with Knapp.  The 2015 inductee into the American Gaming Association's Gambling Hall of Fame recently became the first to apply for a Nevada gaming license, now required for operation of a Daily Fantasy Sports website.

Salerno claims his and Knapp’s product benefit DFS players more so than the current model of US Daily Fantasy, which aims to have takeout of around 10 percent.  In the Daily Fantasy Sports contests currently offered by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, the vast majority of the winnings are collected by a small percentage of elite players, Salerno says.

"In our model, it feels like 80 to 90 percent will get some money back," Salerno said. "It's almost the opposite of their model."

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

By Aaron Goldstein
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