Archive for the ‘Fantasy Sports’ Category

Fantasy Sports Same as Online Gambling says Harry Reid

Friday, November 20th, 2015

betting

Can’t Harry Reid just retire and quit mucking things up. He embodies the quintessential definition of a politician – “what’s in it for me?” Depending on what day of the week it is, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), is either for legalized online gambling or against it. In his latest rant, Harry Reid attacks daily fantasy sports as “unregulated, illegal gambling” and depending upon fantasy sports sites to self-regulate their industry is total nonsense.

Of course, Harry Reid was referring primarily to DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest, most successful websites in the daily fantasy sports industry. And in particular, he was commenting on an open letter from FanDuel CEO Nigle Eccles that was addressed to FanDuel’s players and was posted on the website.

In the letter, Eccles said that the industry needed “strong, common sense, enforceable” regulations to protect consumers. He referred to sensible state regulation that’s already in place but didn’t name the state. Legislation such as third-party audits, age and location verification and safeguards against insider company information being used in contests are excellent examples of how the industry can police itself. Eccles went on to say “these are steps I have always advocated for — and now is the time to memorialize them in law for FanDuel and the entire industry.” The letter also noted that “some lawmakers are seeking to prohibit your right to play fantasy sports as you know it.” While Nevada wasn’t named specifically in the letter, gambling regulators recently decided to require fantasy sports sites to be licensed the same as a casino or sports book. Those sites without a license would not be allowed to operate in Nevada.

The controversy surrounding daily fantasy sports is over whether or not this is gambling. The industry points to an exemption for fantasy sports in the federal law (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that banned online gambling in 2006. Proponents say that even though money is involved, it can’t be considered as gambling because there is a component of skill that is required when putting together a sports team.

Harry Reid agrees with Eccles that insider betting, age and geo location are bonafide aspects that need to be in place to ensure public safety, but that the state needs to be the one to enforce it, not individual companies. And the only way for the state to enforce it, is to charge huge licensing fees. In other words, Reid feels that if the state can’t get a piece of the action from an online gaming site, then it should be banned. In his statement, Reid said “without strong oversight, there is nothing stopping these terrible things from happening and we will continue to see more corruption from this unregulated, illegal gambling.” In referring to online fantasy sports as “what is essentially gambling by another name”, Reid is urging state and federal authorities to regulate the industry.

Nevada Declares Fantasy Sports to be Gambling

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

online-gambling-NevadaSo far, five states have enacted a total ban on daily fantasy sports. But Nevada falls somewhere in between a yes and a no by allowing fantasy sports companies to operate if they are fully licensed. This of course, becomes a new chunk of revenue for the state. If anyone is going to gamble in Nevada, the state wants their piece of the pie. So, really, it’s not a question of ethics and gambling, but rather, who gets the revenue.

Individual states aren’t the only ones interested in the legality of this issue. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are looking at possible violations of federal law. Recently, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said “maybe we need to start treating online fantasy sports gaming like traditional sports betting, which has safeguards in place to protect the player.” Menendez has called for new regulations within New Jersey for daily fantasy sports. No doubt this is an effort to help make up the shortfall from the decline of casino revenue in Atlantic City that New Jersey has experienced in the last few years.

The Nevada gambling licensing process involves extensive background investigations and could take six months. In order to be compliant, DraftKings will disable its product in all Nevada gambling jurisdictions and said in an e-mailed statement “we strongly disagree with this decision and will work diligently to ensure Nevadans have the right to participate in what we strongly believe is legal entertainment that millions of Americans enjoy.”

In recent years fantasy sports have mushroomed in popularity, no doubt caused by the efforts of DraftKings and FanDuel. Fueled by huge investments from Major League Baseball, Time Warner Inc. and others, sports fans have been bombarded by fantasy sports advertising .

Fantasy sports were included in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It stated that fantasy sports games didn’t count as betting as long as certain caveats were met. A company had to have set prize pools, the contests had to be skill based and they couldn’t rely on the outcome of any single sports event. FanDuel and DraftKings constructed their games to conform to these points to construe an exemption from gambling laws.