If you didn't know any better -- and, of course, I didn't -- you might have thought the state of Minnesota had gotten itself into the sports bookmaking business.
An ad in the Star Tribune this morning (left) announced the Minnesota State Lottery's Fantasy Football Print-N-Play game.
Here's how I saw it: You watch this Sunday's game and (using the example in the picture as an example), hope that the Miami quarterback scores one or more touchdowns, that New England's running back scores one or more touchdowns, Oakland's kicker hits a bunch of field goals and the Eagles' starting tackle sacks the opposition quarterback. Then you add up all the points that go with each event and hope it adds up to more points than your opponent's team (in this case, the number of points registered by Dallas' quarterback, Denver's runningback, Houston's wide receiver, and the Colts' tight end).
That game, actually, would be a lot of fun. It also would be illegal.
Here's how it really works: According to Lottery Director Clint Harris, the results are predetermined and the scoring is not connecting to any real NFL game. The lottery player just goes down both sides of the ticket and fills in the number of points for the results already indicated. In the example, I end up with 16 points. So does the opposition. I lose. Some fun, eh?
Harris told me there actually is one state where the lottery is allowed to make book on sports in the manner I described earlier. Montana, one of three states that was grandfathered when state lotteries were legalized, allows fantasy football wagering in its lottery.
Play slip wagers will be allowed until 30 minutes prior to the first scheduled game of the week (either Thursday, Saturday or Sunday depending on the week's schedule). From 30 minutes before the first scheduled game until 30 minutes before the start of the last scheduled game of the week, only quick pick wagering will be allowed. The last scheduled game of the week is Monday night, except for the last week of the regular season when the last game is scheduled for Sunday. Quick pick wagers will be randomly selected players from the eligible player roster finalized prior to the start of the season.
I don't understand the allure of the lottery... why would that be fun? I agree with the people that think of it as an ignorance tax.
I was listening to a This American Life episode last night where they talked to a guy who thinks the lottery is biased against black people (he's black), but still spends $50 a week on it.