The end of this year’s March Madness will also mark the indefinite end of college fantasy games, the NCAA announced Thursday.
Online fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel said they would voluntarily halt hosting college sports contests after the conclusion of the men’s NCAA college basketball season in an agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“We will work diligently with our member schools over the coming year to ensure such amateur sports ‘carve outs’ are included in pending states’ legislation,” NCAA President Mark Emmert told CNBC.
The NCAA said the agreement to halt fantasy sports is good for the young people that participate in amateur athletics. DraftKings, one of the industry’s top companies, said that despite college sports’ popularity, the halt is the “best path forward for the industry at this time.”
The move comes as states across the country move to regulate fantasy sports, where players pay fees to enter short-term contests in which they choose real athletes and win real money.
Critics of the activity argue that it’s a game of chance akin to gambling; supporters say winning requires skill. DraftKing competitor FanDuel noted that many states are weighing laws with “carve outs” that protect the right to play fantasy sports choosing professional athletes but bar playing amateur contests.
“The future of fantasy sports will be defined in those state governments, where leaders are hearing a resounding call from their constituents who want to continue to play the games they love,” FanDuel told CNBC. “The action we are seeing in states across the country makes it clear: the future is bright for the millions and millions of people who play fantasy sports.”
— Reporting by CNBC’s Jessica Golden. Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.