Already famous for his groundbreaking approach to race and sports betting and mobile gaming in the United States, Vic Salerno is taking on the daily fantasy sports world and introducing a variant that is understandable to gaming regulators and popular with players. His US Fantasy Sports company was recently granted a license in Nevada to offer his unique style of DFS starting in the fall. Salerno, a member of the Gaming Hall of Fame, spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from his office in Las Vegas in July.
1. Tell us how your game works.
It will be a little different than the DFS you see now. We call the contests “events.” The first event would be picking the quarterback who would throw for the most yards. You can make parlay bets, too. All the wagers would go into one common pool, from all the different locations, whether it be the different sports and race books where it’s offered or on the mobile platform. So, instead of going into a race book and telling the ticket writer you want to bet the No. 2 horse in the fifth race at Santa Anita to win, you say you want the specific daily fantasy sports event and want to bet on No. 2 to win. No. 2 might be Tom Brady. So if on Sunday Brady throws for 330 yards, but someone else like Ben Roethlisberger throws for 350 yards, Brady would finish second.
2. No wonder regulators are comfortable with this. It’s exactly like betting a horse race.
Yes, and the biggest thing they like is the transparency. The more money bet on a player, the lower the odds are going to be. If someone bets $10,000 on Brady, his odds will go down and odds on other players will go up. You know where the money is going, unlike the fantasy games that are out there now.
3. This isn’t just for football, though?
No, we can use this system for baseball, basketball… any sport you can imagine.
And we can have the exotic bets, too. In horse racing, you have a “Pick 6.” We’re going to offer a Pick 7. You can bet $1 to win $1 million. You’d have to bet best quarterback, best running back, best defense, best kicker and others. We’ll start a million-dollar pool and it will be progressive.
The traditional sports bettor would be able to pick four quarterbacks and build parlay bets. We feel that’s going to be a real winner.
4. So, you’re not making the argument that this is a game of skill?
No, that’s just silly. If you risk money to win money, that’s the definition of gambling. We’re not denying that.
That’s not to say that skill isn’t involved. Weather, closed or open stadium, real grass or artificial turf, home or away, the players’ records against that specific team… Knowledge will always help when making your bets.
5. How applicable is this in other states, even where sports betting may not be permitted?
Our ultimate goal is to mirror what the racetracks do. I can now bet horse racing on my phone. The bet goes through a disseminator in Las Vegas and then goes to the specific track. We can do that all over the country, so that would be the perfect platform for our fantasy sports game. We’ve been
talking to regulators, legislators and track operators all across the country about doing it in particular states. We believe we’re the best answer in how to do this in a transparent and open manner.