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Fantasy sports betting site FanDuel expands into competitive video gaming

eSports

A crowd watches an eSports competition.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Fantasy sports gambling site FanDuel said Thursday it has acquired eSports platform AlphaDraft.

The deal comes a day after FanDuel’s chief rival, DraftKings, announced that it would include competitive video gaming in its betting lineup.

The moves underscore the growing allure of eSports, which has filled arenas and made a splashy return to television.

Game-industry consulting firm SuperData Research says eSports is now a $612-million global market with 134 million fans and growing.

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Terms of the FanDuel/AlphaDraft deal were not disclosed. Unlike FanDuel, which focuses on major professional sports, AlphaDraft was targeted solely on professional video gaming.

FanDuel and DraftKings have been leading the growth of daily fantasy sports gaming, which is expected to generate about $2.6 billion in wagers this year. The industry is estimated to grow 41% annually, to $14.4 billion by 2020, according to Eilers Research in Anaheim.

The industry was ignited in 2006 when the federal government enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

The law distinguished gambling on fantasy sports as a game of skill rather than one of chance, such as online poker.

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It’s fully legal in all states except Arizona, Louisiana, Iowa, Montana and Washington.

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