LAS VEGAS -- Cantor Data Services, a Las Vegas-based subsidiary of financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., will launch a fantasy sports website in Maryland next month, making the Chesapeake Bay State its 27th market since it launched earlier this month.
Cantor Fantasy Sports offers daily and weekly real money fantasy sports online, according to a company executive.
"There are 35 million to 45 million people who play fantasy sports, but less than 1 million that play daily or weekly fantasy games," said Matthew Holt, vice president of Fantasy Games at Cantor Data Services.
Holt said a website offering real money games is an opportunity to get into the lucrative business of fantasy sports. He said the website is being marketed to fantasy players who might want an alternative to seasonlong football or basketball leagues.
Cantor Fantasy Sports is looking to pick up users from Yahoo, CBSSports.com and ESPN.com, the three fantasy sports hosts that dominate the full-season market. Holt said there was an opportunity to reach a large online audience used to playing real money online poker or betting on sports.
Cantor's online fantasy business is operated separately from Cantor's race and sports book business.
Cantor Data Services, seeing an opportunity to invest in an industry generating more than $1 billion annually, launched Cantor Fantasy Sports - www.cantorfantasysports.com - on Sept. 6 in 26 states, including Nevada.
Holt said the business is "completely legal" under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which prohibits most forms of online gambling. The act specifically excludes fantasy sports.
"We have taken a conservative approach to launching this product," Holt said. "We have to be 100 percent comfortable before we'll launch in any state."
With limited marketing to support its launch, Holt said Cantor Fantasy Sports attracted 250 registered users within the first week. He expects 1 million registered users within two years.
Here's an example of how one of the fantasy games works:
The Cantor 7 League platform is a weekly fantasy football game, allowing users to select their desired roster of seven players consisting of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one kicker and a defense.
After the teams are chosen, Cantor Fantasy Sports generates a fantasy line on the game. Holt said if the total of your team is 100, while your opponent's team value is 90, it's a 10-point fantasy line.
He said users can enter real money fantasy games, wagering anywhere from $2 and $50,000, and can play with two to 200 players.
Other games include Cantor Top Tier, a weekly football league offering users 10 tiers with six players on each tier, each grouped by similar fantasy value. He said the Cantor 5 League, a daily basketball league, will launch Oct. 30 when the NBA season begins.
Holt said fantasy college football and basketball, PGA, NASCAR and UFC games will be launched soon. He said the company will launch an MLB game before the 2013 season, and an NHL fantasy game is being developed.
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