Daily Fantasy Sports has always lived on the edge and so sometimes weeks are going to seem worse than others. However, if your worst weeks actually aren’t that bad, then there is almost no major worries that need to be had. We will breakdown the week that was in major Daily Fantasy Sports news.
It has been a very wild week for the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Industry that might have some players scared about the future and legality of the events themselves. Luckily, despite all of the action in the recent days nothing has really changed on the legality front and all of the moves that have happened haven’t been exactly shocking for anyone who remembers legal online poker in the USA pre-UIEGA. Of course, understanding the nuances of what is going on though and what long term impacts it will have are pretty important, and for that we will break that down for you.
OnlinePokerReport.com reported a few days ago that FanDuel has hired a lobbyist group for the first time, Steptoe & Johnson, which is interesting in itself. The story gets even better when you learn that this is also the same lobbyist group that is contracted by Sheldon Adelson who is trying to push through RAWA (a bill to ban online gambling). This likely means that even if Adelson is lucky enough to ban online gambling on a federal level, DFS is going to have a very good shot at getting a special carve out, much like it enjoys now with the UIEGA as a skill game. The other positive connotation from this is what unlike poker in 2006, the DFS industry appears to be more forward thinking and is engaging in the needed exercise of spending lobbying money in Washington. While it might seem like a frivolous expense to some, lobbyists are how law is made and making sure you have a voice in that room is paramount to getting what you want. This is a smart and forward thinking move by the DFS sites and should pay huge dividends in ensuring nothing takes away their legality like what happened with poker in 2006.
The Nevada Gaming Commission made maybe the biggest announcement of the week when it decided that DFS counts as gambling and will need to be licensed by the state if it wants to continue to do business from within the state’s borders. While this may not sound important at all, because it is one state of about 2.5 million people, it is important because many states look to the NVGC for specific decisions on gambling related things. Saying that DFS is gambling though is not anything that surprising, and honestly, is something that should have been expected. They didn’t rule on whether it was a skill game though and that is the crux of the entire legality of the DFS industry. Considering that the NVGC didn’t touch on that, it is likely that they are not going to. This ruling is likely just an attempt by NVGCs to get some money they feel they deserve and if it will be successful or not will still be decided. Some sites already to not offer games in specific jurisdiction and that might just be expanded to Nevada instead of seeking a license from the NVGC.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also launched an investigation into the DFS industry to make sure that everything was how it should be. One major difference here from many of the investigations in the past is the FanDuel and DraftKings are both US-based companies. They are using all major banking institutions in legal ways, they are following US tax laws and many other stipulations that got poker companies in trouble in previous investigations. These facts are exceptionally important when trying to decide where this investigation will actually go. Further, all reports indicate that this investigation is in the very early stages and if anyone is familiar with how these things work, we can expect some kind of answer in 2-3 years about what they have found.
The well known #fakenews site, The New York Time released a piece this week that can only be described as inaccurate and ham-fisted. Not only have people from the industry decried it as bad, but the general reaction from readers not in the industry has been less than positive. One of the major issues with this article takes place within the first couple of paragraphs where the author describes money changing hands via a suitcase to help fund sites, alluding to the fact the DFS sites have to do this to function. This of course could not be further from the truth as the major DFS sites are US-based and use such common methods as PayPal to help fund accounts (surprisingly none of them accept bitcoin yet), not some shady backroom deals that the author seems to think. The article itself is really not worth the read as it has been so widely panned. Just another reason to stick to grinding online poker with rakeback to earn your living instead of this shady business.
Where does the Daily Fantasy Sports industry stand right now? In about the same place that it did a week ago, except in maybe Nevada. ESPN is still showing the commercials constantly, you can see adverts for the sites almost everywhere and New Jersey isn’t even angry at PokerStars for running a US-facing DFS site. All of the indications are that even though this week might have sounded scary for the DFS industry, it actually hasn’t been and business as usual is more than expected. The biggest and most comforting thing is obviously going to be that ESPN and other major advertisers haven’t stepped, or even backed away. What do you think of the future of DFS? Has this past week changed your mind at all? Tell us what you think on Twitter or Facebook!