UPDATE: Late on Monday, the New York Times reported that both DraftKings and FanDuel had temporarily banned their employees from playing on rival DFS sites.
The DFS community erupted over the weekend after word spread that DraftKings’ written content manager Ethan Haskell had inadvertently published a list of Week 3 NFL player ownership percentages while some of that week’s DFS contests were still open.
The incident raised questions as to how many DraftKings staffers had access to such information and news that Haskell had gone on to win $350k on FanDuel that same weekend further ratcheted up the controversy.
With the exception of a brief preamble in FanDuel’s version, the two statements issued on Monday are identical. Below is FanDuel’s version:
While there has been recent attention on industry employees playing on FanDuel and DraftKings, nothing is more important to DraftKings and FanDuel than the integrity of the games we offer to our customers. Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it.
However, we continue to review our internal controls to ensure they are as strong as they can be. We also plan to work with the entire fantasy sports industry on this specific issue so that fans everywhere can continue to enjoy and trust the games they love.
Critics are already complaining about the lack of specifics offered in the statement. Meanwhile, Dfsreport.com has pointed out that Haskell is far from the only DFS employee making bank by entering DFS contents, citing as just one example FanDuel’s product operations staffer Matthew Boccio – a former trader at online sportsbook Pinnacle Sports – who is a top 50 DFS player at DraftKings, despite having only begun playing on the site as of June 16.
NEW YORK TIMES HOPS ON ANTI-DFS BANDWAGON
Meanwhile, calls for regulatory oversight of the DFS industry grew louder on Monday as the New York Times editorial board called on Congress to “rein in online fantasy sports gambling.” The New York Post has conducted a stridently anti-DFS campaign for several weeks now, and the fact that the venerable ‘grey lady’ has now hopped on this bandwagon doesn’t bode well for DFS operators.
The Times’ op-ed says it is “hard to believe” that Congress had DFS in mind when it included a fantasy sports carveout in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). In fact, it’s guaranteed they weren’t thinking about DFS, as it didn’t yet exist. The Times goes on to claim that “the allure of profits from gambling clouds otherwise rational minds” and that offering more ways to wager on sporting events “is sure to threaten the integrity of sports and create more gambling addicts, especially among young people.”
Sadly, the Times’ anti-DFS stance is based on a broader opposition to all sports gambling. The op-ed calls it “worrisome” that federal politicians like New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. are “using the growth of fantasy sports to push congress to let states legalize conventional gambling in sports.”