Three US major sports league commissioners all agree on one thing: daily fantasy sports is not gambling.
In an interview on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred maintained his position that fantasy sports are not gambling but suggested that fantasy organizations should have an appropriate safeguards in place “to ensure that things are fair and that fans who engage on these platforms have an opportunity to win.”
Manfred also added that he is comfortable with the legality of the games that are being offered by DraftKings as federal law has created a certain landscape for fantasy sports.
DraftKings has become the official daily fantasy game of MLB and has extended its sponsorship with the league’s 27 teams. According to Manfred, fantasy sports has given the league the fan engagement that it needed.
Manfred also clarified his stance on sports betting, saying he never said that he is in favor of legalizing betting on sports but will re-evaluate the league’s relationship with sports betting during the baseball off-season since its landscape and the country’s approach to it is changing.
In a seperate interview, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who has the same stance on DFS as Manfred, called fantasy sports as a game of skill. Although he is concerned with the ongoing scrutiny of DFS, he said it will be a path to regulation that will protect the fantasy sports players.
“There should be a regulatory framework; there should be increased transparency for consumers,” said Silver. “I think it would ultimately aid the industry. In fact, I think we’re seeing the marketplace impacted, because there’s not a clear regulatory framework right now.”
Silver added that he does not have any plan on backing out of the league’s partnership with Fanduel despite the scandal and questions on legality.
NFL commissioner Rogel Goodell, who also looks at fantasy sports as not gambling, said that DFS is based on the performances of the players and not the outcome.
“We believe season-long fantasy is much different than that [sports betting],” Goodell said. “We believe daily fantasy is different than that because it’s essentially a matchup of players. There is not influence so that it can influence the outcome of a game.”