From the 16th century to modern day the world as we know has undergone numerous changes in technology, communication, and transportation within the world of sport. Modern sport developed out of new forms of associativity created during the English enlightenment. Associativity has been considered the key fundamental unit of modern sport which involves gatherings, groups of people, socialization, and communication. Sports fans have utilized technology in the 21st century to form online associations and create daily fantasy lineups and legally bet with the hope of winning a monetary prize at the cost of an initial payment. While European nations have been placing wagers for hundreds of years, in 2018 a new wave of globalization has emerged through the likes of Fan Duel and online legal sports betting.
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This technology has allowed for the associativity between sport, and the individual through an online medium while providing yet another opportunity for fans to engage with their sport creating what I argue, the third wave of globalization. The third wave of globalization is defined by technology and how individuals engage with sports virtually through a modern, regulated, legal-rational, bureaucratic legal institution without cosmopolitan bias or limits. Betting, unlike lottery games, requires the systematic amassing of data, the honing of knowledge, the development of expertise, in short, the mastery of highly modern pursuits that were to maximize the chances for success and that in turn, also helped shaping the world of modern sport.
Fan Duel launched in 2009 with the purpose of simplifying long-term and season-long games to allow users the opportunity to win on a daily basis while competing against hundreds of thousands of individuals. Their philosophy is simple for the participant; Choose a contest, pick your players, watch and win. On a global stage, these contests take place across numerous leagues including the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB, CFB, NASCAR, and the English Premier league mainly because spectators are primarily interested in big-time sports. Although there are “free-entries” individuals can also enter contests by paying a fee still, the goal remains the same, which is to produce the most points to win the prize. Fan Duel’s online structure provides the consumer with the opportunity to become general manager of their own team for the day while giving the autonomy to choose players for any reason regardless of local identity and minimal barriers to entry showing numerous characteristics of modernity.
The third wave of sports globalization has been possible through technological advances that have provided individuals with the ability to usher in the third wave of globalization by not physically having to place bets and removing ascriptive barriers for sports betting, which is modernity. For example, when creating an account on Fanduel, ascriptive features such as race and gender play no role in the ability to register, one must simply be 18 or older. Fan Duel has its own “Bill of Rights” that is highlighted by a level playing field, clear rules and structure, and fair competition. We know that a structured bill of rights is a key part in the creation of associativity and within Fan Duel forms an online community of its own. Just this year Fan Duel emerged victorious in a Supreme Court ruling that shocked the world. In a 6-3 ruling, the court found that a 1992 law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated states’ rights under the U.S. Constitution and just like all sports, Fan Duel was now bureaucratized. In a victory for the states, especially for New Jersey, who now allows legal sports betting physically and online. Fan Duel has taken advantage of the ruling by unleashing a new online platform in combination with its daily fantasy platform to allow legal sports betting through their online structure. In the first wave of globalization, white aristocrat males only could place wagers which lead to discrimination against all minorities regarding the ability to bet. In 2018, Fan Duel has shown they’re able to set an equal playing field by removing the physical aspect and neglecting the ascriptive characteristics of the individual to place a bet, highlighting modernity. In the following paragraphs, I’m going to argue the modernity of Fan Duel beginning with cosmopolitan functions within the third wave of globalization.
Fan Duel hides the identity of the user withholding the ascriptive characteristics that define an individual to ensure equal opportunity and minimizing any type of discrimination. Men, Women, White, Black, Asian are all eligible to participate and abide by one set of clear rules. Most sports fans have a local identity that may or may not affect who they bet on or put into their lineup. For example, the Giants fan may bet on the Eagles to win or put Carson Wentz (Eagles QB who clearly defines iconization ) in their lineup regardless of personal hatred and rivalry ignoring their predisposed local identity. Selecting a player only because of their race either white or black is a rare occurrence because participants are committed to winning and like all modern hegemonic sports the best players are chosen regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation also known as ascriptive traits. Fan duel provides equal opportunities for all over the age of 18 while showing traits of modernity by including all participants regardless of uncontrollable characteristics. One of the more distinctive traits of capitalism is the ability to explore the free market. Although a unique offering, Fan duel is in direct competition with Draft kings and illegal betting operations all over the world through the use of the internet. Migration, economic and political expansion, and competitiveness are considered defining characteristics of globalization in sport and with illegal betting being projected as a $150 million-dollar industry, the supreme court ruling has called for political participation and a new branch of the economy to form. New Jersey is currently the only state that allows online legal betting through Fan Duel. Here, the supreme court acts as an institution that is perceived as objective, legal, rational, and bureaucratic, traits of modernity. What’s interesting about the ruling is that the Supreme Court left the power in the hands of the state. According to NY Senator Chuck Schumer, the government must begin to regulate sports betting and take a leadership role in providing the necessary guidance. Not only has the government chimed in, but league commissioners such as Adam silver of the NBA have also publicly made comments stating that the “league” itself should retain profit from the legalization of sports betting. Silver has proposed the NBA retaining 1% of all bets placed considering the multi-billion-dollar industry.
Within Fan Duels’ online structure technology is used as a medium that brings accessibility to masses that have been previously excluded throughout history. It is no longer the case that one must be a white aristocrat to place a wager yet gambling still has many modern characteristics. In the 18th century, it was socially unacceptable for an African American to place a wager. Technology today has allowed for the removal of ascriptive characteristics to deny one of equal opportunity regarding betting and has given the option for participants to use the internet rather than physically placing a bet. Overtime gambling has always been seen as individual and would be used to demonstrate class differences based on “what is bet on” and “how much is placed on the bet.” I argue that in 2018, the legality of sports betting is indeed modern due to the fact that an objective, legal, rational, bureaucratic institution voted for legality and the potential government involvement and regulation of the betting industry form this third wave of globalization. As early as the 16th-century bets and wagers have been placed between friends and rivals. Whether it’s horse racing or throwing an object further than the competition. In 1677 we hear of the Earl of Sussex attending a cricket match and by 1694 aristocrats have started to use cricket to indulge in their favorite pastime: gambling. Similar to Cricket, the development of Horseracing called for a set of rules by royalty and aristocrats to incorporate gambling. By 1750, the Jockey club was created in England to provide authority on horseracing issues implementing Max Webber’s legal-rational authority to provide historical context on how the sports betting world has evolved since the 18th century.
Similar but different to Fan Duel, the rise of fantasy sports has also emerged in this third wave of globalization. Rather than daily options, fantasy sports allow the user to become general manager of their team for the entire season, from draft night all the way through the playoffs executing waivers and trades to field the best team. In Fan Duel, the participant can compete with hundreds of thousands while in season-long leagues, the participant usually faces one opponent for the entire week. Because of the cap on the number of teams in the league, there is a possibility for individual to be discriminated against, but that relies on the commissioner’s decision. Still, without any legislation, the government has hinted towards also regulating fantasy sports.
Legality is the key differentiator in what makes Fan Duel modern as opposed to fantasy sports. Within the Supreme Court ruling, there had been no mention of fantasy sports, simply legal gambling. Because the money in fantasy sports is given under the table it is considered by some as an act of illegal gambling. However, sites like “Yahoo” are beginning to take steps that are in line with Fan Duels system. Just this past football season, Yahoo has opened a new line of daily fantasy options. It will be interesting to see how the government chooses to regulate sports betting as it may become common on sites like “Yahoo” in the near future. As mentioned prior, migration, economic and political expansion, and competitiveness are considered defining characteristics of globalization in sport and it’s evident in the late 19th century England with rapid population growth, state authority, and the implementation of hegemonic sports. The Second Wave of globalization otherwise known as “post-industrialization” globalization was highlighted by the transformation of technology and the emergence of global media have facilitated unprecedented communication between individuals and groups in far-away places. This new third wave of globalization is defined by technology and how individuals have the opportunity to engage with sports through a virtual sense. Through the internet, individuals all over the world are able to participate in virtual betting.
Legal sports betting and daily fantasy sports, I argue are modern due to a number of key factors. First and most importantly, a modern, regulated, legal-rational, bureaucratic legal institution has ruled that sports gambling is indeed legal through a supreme court ruling. And second, the internet has allowed for the removal of ascriptive discrimination. Technology in the 21st century is the catalyst for the third wave of globalization.
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