July 22, 2013

Living the dream with daily fantasy sports

Companies aim to take short-term and small buy-in competitions to mainstream sports fans.

By PARESH DAVE/Los Angeles Times

(Continued from page 1)

Daily fantasy sports emerge as instant-gratification alternative
click image to enlarge

David Geller, center, left Yahoo’s fantasy sports division a year ago and recently started TopLine Game Labs, which offers short-term fantasy sports competitions.

The Associated Press

TopLine is paying special attention to trying to make the game inviting to people hesitant to gamble their money by giving players the option to compete for non-cash rewards and prizes.

Geller left Yahoo to focus on the creation of mobile apps, serving for a year as president of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.'s incubator division. Since founding TopLine in April, he's hired 10 employees.

Yahoo, ESPN and CBS -- the leaders in season-long online games -- don't offer short-term games yet. Legal experts say big companies may be scared off because short-term games remain in murky taxation and legal territory. The 2006 federal law allows for fantasy sports games as long as a bettor's wins or losses "reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants" rather than the outcome of a single game or a single athlete's performance.

Geller said TopLine's offerings would pass legal muster.

"The short-term games are more interesting on a skill level because you have to know about matchups that are imminent," he said. "You can't bank on the law of averages to even things out over a season."


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