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Game over: Betting sites sack college fantasy sports

Fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel voluntarily halt the online contests as part of a deal with the NCAA.

College sports make up 3 percent of FanDuel's market.

The bets are off for fantasy college sports.

A deal between the National Collegiate Athletic Association and two online fantasy-sports giants, DraftKings and FanDuel, suspends betting on fantasy college sports indefinitely. All college contests will cease after the college basketball games played this week, ESPN reported Thursday.

The agreement resolves months of discussion that involved not only the NCAA and betting companies but also member schools and state legislatures.

Fantasy sports are a popular online activity, letting people create their own teams that succeed or fail based on the real-world performance of players in college or professional leagues. But many states still haven't ruled whether it's legal to wager money on college fantasy sports.

That makes fantasy gaming just the latest Internet-era idea that doesn't quite fit into the older system of laws and conventions. We've also had to wrangle with muddy areas like online bullying, how search engines affect your reputation, teenagers sending nude selfies to one another, taxes on e-commerce and privacy for consumers visiting websites.

The central point of contention in this case: Are fantasy sports contests actually gambling? Daily fantasy sports sites argue that their contests are a game of skill. The NCAA, opposed to all forms of sports betting, disagrees.

The fantasy sites point to progress with laws that provide a framework for the activity. "We continue to see tremendous support for fantasy sports in legislatures across the country, with nearly 30 states advancing thoughtful and appropriate regulations for fantasy play," DraftKings said in a statement.

For its part, the NCAA "appreciates and commends DraftKings and FanDuel's action" to put a halt to their contests, President Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday. "This action culminates months of hard work between all parties to reach a place that is good for amateur sports and most importantly, the young people who participate."