Sample English Essay Paper on Rhetorical Analysis of “The Fantasy Sports Gamble”


In the current paradigm shift that is characterized by unprecedented and expanding information access through the internet, television programs, advertisement, and social media, we can interact or get anything at the click of a button. With the discovery of the internet, everything has been simplified, and one should not be surprised as to why the betting industries have taken the minds of young people (even the elderly), and the only claim the betting firms give is that they are making games more exciting. Accordingly, as Frank Koughan discusses in the documentary “The Fantasy Sports Gamble”, the Americans are deeply addicted to betting, and it seems the small change in behavioral characteristics of the brain has driven many people out of control. Betting seems to have been established not only in America but also across the globe. Frank Koughan states “Then the Internet came along. Today, you can play thousands of opponents at once”. I strongly agree with Koughan that gambling is a form of an ongoing evil in our society. This documentary was written against a context of increased concern about addiction to gambling and the question of how the betting firms turned into a multibillion profit-making firms.


Frank Koughan brings out all the said issues throughout the documentary to show the complexity of fantasy in sports regarding gambling and how different the problem is about various stakeholders. The closest idea to a thesis statement is this quote: “As the daily fantasy sports industry became more ubiquitous, the questions were inevitable. Is this something that is legal? Is this something that should be regulated? How is this not gambling?”


The audiencefor this documentary is most likely to be those who have been addicted to gambling and those who are not but are intrigued by the title, which seems to be an overstatement to those who are not well informed. The most affected audience is the youth as the narrator says, “Probably about 50 to 60 percent are under the age of 30.” Considering that America is a democratic and progressive region, those who watch this documentary are most likely to be sympathetic with the fact that many young people have gone merely out of control and doing things, not because of their will but because their brain’s neuroscience has been altered. Considering that the narrator attempts to cover the positive and negative sides of fantasy controversies, a conservative audience may as well be drawn.


Going beyond what betting firms do regarding human violations and its negative impact to the society, a solid logos appeal is built by Frank Koughan when he considers modeling the different ways additives make decisions based on how they have been impacted by betting firms. For instance, Koughan narrates that most companies engage in illegal business, but then he reveals a little-known fact: “With that, a new industry was born. Soon, dozens of companies began offering daily fantasy games, most making their money by taking a cut of the players’ bets. FanDuel and its main rival, DraftKings, are the biggest names in the business, with about 90 percent of the market.” Koughan also uses a lot of statistics to bolster his logos appeal. For instance, he states that 20,000 to 30,000 people sign up on gambling sites on a daily basis, which reflects the extent to which gambling should be addressed with urgency.


Throughout the documentary, Koughan subtly draws the good conscience of the audience with an attempt to promote responsible and smarter individuals. He discusses how young people have lost a lot of money, how their precious time has been unproductively used, and how gambling fosters corruption in many ways. Koughan also works to change the belief that gambling is a way of making money. By revealing unknown risks and outcomes of gambling, Koughan tries to inspire a sense of caution while at the same time shifting the audience values from short-term (excitement) to long-term values like engaging in productive activities.


When compared to his pathos appeals, Koughan ethos appeal is also subtle; this is demonstrated by letting the evidence gently tug the conscience of those watching the documentary with the aim of establishing self-conscience, authority, and good character of those involved in sports fantasy. The latter is very important because Koughan is not famous and does not possess a page on his website. Koughan establishes his credibility and good sense by addressing the negative and positive impacts of gambling thus establishing himself as a person who knows both smart business practices and cruel business practices. Even though ethos may not be the prominent aspect of the three appeals in his documentary, it helps demonstrate the goodwill in the narrator of the documentary.

I believe that Frank Koughan makes a compelling argument by supporting his message on the need to take action on gambling sites. Primarily, depending on his logos appeal, Koughan also uses ethos and pathos appeals to make sure that the message appeals to those watching the documentary. His message is valid, and I believe it would have an impact on the society besides the major stakeholders having a second thought on this issue.


Koughan, Frank, Walt Bogdanich, and James Glanz. The Fantasy Sports Gamble. Place of                        publication not identified: PBS DIstribution, 2016.