NFL Agrees To Make Its Pre-Teen Fantasy Football Contests Less Like Gambling

Earlier this year, consumer advocates called on the NFL to put an end to its NFL Rush Fantasy competitions, which are only for pre-teens, but which offer significant prizes, ranging from video game consoles to trips to the Pro Bowl. While the NFL is apparently going to continue offering the kiddie fantasy football game, these groups say the league is making changes to address some of their concerns.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), say they and the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling had a meeting with the NFL at which the league agreed to eliminate cash prizes — in the form of “scholarships” — and that, rather than reward the highest-scoring players with weekly prizes, all Fantasy Rush participants will be eligible for random drawings to determine prize winners.

Critics of NFL Rush were concerned that it could work as an introduction to kids to daily fantasy sports, which have been accused in some states of being a form of unlicensed gambling. Additionally, because there was no real way to verify participants’ ages, there were concerns that “pro” daily fantasy players could pose as children.

One of the more troublesome non-game aspects of NFL Rush Fantasy was a school curriculum program — brought to you by YMI, the people responsible for pushing a Paul Blart sequel into kids’ classrooms under the guise of education — based on the game. According to the groups, the NFL has agreed to discontinue this cross promotion and to not market the program in schools going forward.

“We are pleased that the NFL has agreed to make these changes, and young children will no longer have a financial stake in the outcome of its games,” said Josh Golin, Executive Director of CCFC in a statement. “It is also good news for parents that the league will no longer enlist teachers and schools in an effort to get children into the habit of playing fantasy sports.”

We’ve reached out to confirm the details of this agreement with the NFL, but have yet to hear back from the league’s media office.

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