Yahoo has updated its fantasy sports mobile app to include the ability to bet real money on daily and weekly games. The new mobile app puts Yahoo squarely into an online market, which the company says grew about 40 percent last year.
In fantasy sports, people 'draft' professional athletes onto their own fantasy online teams. Winners are decided by adding up athletes' daily scores in real-life games.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that almost 57 million players this year will spend about $4 billion.
"The market for this is insatiable. It just keeps on going up and up and up," says Economics Professor Richard McGowan of Boston college, who is an expert on the gambling industry.
There's demand for fantasy sports, because it does not face the same legal restrictions that are imposed on online gambling, such as poker or direct betting on sports.
That's because fantasy sports is said to require skill. Players must analyze athletes' statistics, and not rely solely on pure chance.
McGowan says that distinction has made it popular.
"The sports radio stations, they constantly have advertisements for sports fantasy leagues. For instance, for baseball, every day you can put a different fantasy team together now," McGowan says.
Yahoo has already been a part of this. Its audience reads fantasy-sports content on its sites and could already wager on season-long games. Now, Yahoo will allow them to do so on daily and weekly games, as well, through its mobile app.
Yahoo says the move is the first foray in trying to make money on mobile through something other than ads.
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