Star Fantasy Leagues, one of the many entrants in online fantasy sports, plans to expand beyond daily tournaments to season-long sports in the spring.
Seth Young, chief operating officer at the Rochester, N.Y.-based startup, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company will launch its fantasy sports combination of daily seasons and long seasons on April 2, 2014. He said his company is also hoping to set itself apart to deal with the inevitable regulation that will come as the government learns how much revenue is being generated in the online sports category.
Young also said the company has a slick user interface that is easy to use and scoreboard features that fans like. The company has a web site now, and it is working on a mobile version.
Among the ways Star Fantasy Leagues is doing that is by verifying the age and location of its users through verification services offered by IDology. Young said the company wants to prevent minors from making wagers in its games. Giving away monetary prizes is legal in fantasy sports thanks to a clause specifically permitting it in the 2006 online gambling law.
“We are preparing for that regulation, and it cuts down on fraud anyway,” Young said.
He also said that Star Fantasy Leagues offers skill-based games, not ‘pickem’ style games that may, at least in the future, have trouble walking the line of what is legal and what is not. Games of chance may very well be singled out as not legal, based on some conversations happening now. Most states allow skill-based fantasy sports, although seven states do not.
The company is also sponsoring and speaking at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference in Las Vegas in January. The traditional fantasy sports leagues — a $1.5 billion business — are coming to grips with their online brethren, and Young hopes to bridge that gap.
Star Fantasy Leagues was founded in April 2012, and it has eight full-time employees. Its rivals are extremely well-funded. They included DraftKings, Fanduel, DraftDay, and Draftstreet. The founders are Zachary and Justin Stanley, two brothers who have bankrolled the firm with millions of dollars. They have played fantasy sports online since it became legal and played offline before that. But they felt that the available sites didn’t have the right features. Instead of complaining about it, they decided to build what they wanted.
“We have no outside investment or influence,” Young said.
So far, the company has paid out $500,000 in prizes to its customers, including $450,000 this year. The company offers baseball, basketball, hockey, and football fantasy sports games.
Young said he expects a lot of competition still to come, given that 40 million people play some kind of fantasy sports in North America.
“We’ll see an explosion of new sites,” he said.
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