I am on my sabbatical from work until December 2. To celebrate the birth of our first grandchild, my wife and I are staying with our daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson in Chicago, Illinois.
Prior to my sabbatical, I had been working for Autodesk remotely from Texas, so I am well-acquainted with participating in meetings virtually. With the outbreak of COVID-19, all of our employees are now familiar with virtual meetings. The virtual approach has even spread to include conferences. For example, our annual customer conferences around the globe, Autodesk University, are being held virtually this year.
My son-in-law and I are NFL football fans. He's a Green Bay Packers fan. I am a New Orleans Saints fan. This past Sunday, the Packers played the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints played the Chicago Bears. Though I happened to be in Chicago, I had no plans to attend the Saints game. With the wind chill, the temperature was forecast to feel like 24℉. Since my son-in-law and I would be attending the games virtually by watching them on TV, what could be done to make them more interesting? How about gambling?
If everything else is virtual, why not gambling?
I decided to try FanDuel. FanDuel is a New York City-headquartered gaming company that offers sportsbook, daily fantasy sports, online casino, and online horse race betting experiences. I downloaded the FanDuel iPhone app and created an account. As part of creating an account, FanDuel needed a lot of information from me to ensure that I was old enough to gamble, including the last 4 digits of my social security number. I was not comfortable with this but complied in the interest of conducting this experiment. When it came time to load my account with gambling money, I used PayPal instead of providing FanDuel with my credit card information. With PayPal, I initiate the transaction of sending money instead of the merchant initiating the transaction by taking money. I loaded $250 into my FanDuel account because I had no idea what wagers would be.
As part of creating an account, I bet $50 on the Packers to defeat the Vikings by 6 points. In addition to covering/not covering the point spread, there are other aspects of a game that can be bet on in advance like over/under of total points scored. Here is how that game turned out:
Not only did the Packers not cover the point spread, the Packers lost the game.
As part of using the FanDuel app, I updated my user profile that included uploading providing my address that is in Texas. Before the Packers-Vikings game started, I tried to bet $50 on the Saints to defeat the Bears by 5.5 points. The app would not let me do it as it said "You appear to be in Texas, so your bet cannot be accepted." Now I wondered about the status of my original Packers-Vikings bet. If I won, will I not be able to collect? Why did the app allow me to place that bet in the first place? I fiddled around with the app and eventually granted permission for a location-verification plug-in. Once this plug-in verified that I was indeed in Illinois, I was able to place my additional bet on the Saints.
In addition to betting on game outcomes in advance, FanDuel has a Live mode. FanDuel app users can bet on aspects of a game in progress. I thought I'd give this a try. I found it very frustrating. The FanDuel app would log me out frequently for inactivity (I assume). I wanted to log in once, stay logged in, and use the Live betting as I watched the game. In addition to always having to log in, logging in was very unreliable. I would fire up the app, get the Home screen where I was not logged in, log in, get a "Location Verified" success message, but then the app would take me to Home screen again where I would not be logged in. I had to repeat the process tens of times to eventually log in.
Once I was logged in, I used the Live feature to bet $5 that the Vikings would have to punt on their current offensive possession. Here is how that turned out:
The Vikings kicked a field goal instead.
While watching the second game of the day, when the Saints fell behind, I felt confident that quarterback, Drew Brees, would rally the team. On the next Saints possession, I bet $10 that the team would score a touchdown. I bet $10 to try to win back the $5 I lost on the Vikings drive during the first game. Here is how that turned out:
The Saints had to punt.
As far as the bet that the Saints would cover the spread, here is how that turned out:
The Saints only won by only 3 points.
After losing $115, I used the FanDuel app to transfer the remaining $135 of my $250 back to my PayPal account. That worked flawlessly.
I am glad I tried FanDuel so that I could experience virtual gambling, but it is not for me. It's unsettling to have to supply so much personal information to a gambling institution. Apparently, I cannot even use it when I am in Texas, so the choice for me is actually moot.
It's probably for the best since passion for a sports team is not a logical way to make wagers.
In addition to my uneasiness and ineptitude, the app's constant requirement to log in and the problems around logging in and location verification were really a sour experience. I'll stick to watching NFL football just for fun.
Virtual gambling is alive in the lab.