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DraftKings and FanDuel State They Do Not Offer "Gambling"

Discussion in 'CASINO NEWS' started by Mben, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Administrator Staff Member

    (Associated Press) - Think wagering $20 to win $1 million by picking a winning combination of NFL players for a fantasy team this Sunday is gambling? The league says it isn't.

    So do fast-growing daily fantasy sports companies like DraftKings and FanDuel that offer the games and advertise with the long gambling-adverse pro football organization.

    But as the lucrative NFL betting season ramps up and advertisements from DraftKings and FanDuel are as hard to miss as an extra point, Las Vegas casinos and sports books are feeling like they're on the wrong end of a double-standard. Traditional sports betting is barred outside a handful of states, including Nevada, but daily fantasy sports is allowed in most of the United States.

    Seizing on the disparity, traditional casino operators and sports books are calling for traditional sports betting to be given the same respect.

    "Let's just call it what it is. Americans love to bet on sports," said Joe Asher, chief executive of sports book William Hill's U.S. operations. "They both drive interest in the games and they both should be legal, and taxed and regulated."

    The fantasy industry says it's already legal and has no interest in being regulated if it comes with a "gambling" label. Even the traditional casino companies and regulators have eschewed the word "gambling" until recently, opting for the more antiseptic "gaming" instead to describe what they do.

    Daily fantasy sports and its defenders point to a 2006 law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, that carved out a specific exemption for "fantasy sports" well before the concept of daily games versus week-long or season-long were contemplated. Before the rise of daily fantasy sports, the exception was mostly used by top season-long fantasy operators like Yahoo and CBS Sports.

    "Thanks to fantasy sports being specifically excluded from laws affecting online sports betting, FanDuel is not illegal in any way. Trust us, our lawyers drive very nice cars so that we can keep it that way," FanDuel says on its website as its short answer for the frequently asked question, "Is FanDuel Legal?"

    Fanduel's long answer is more complicated, noting it doesn't operate in several states where its legality is not as clear.

    Some regulators and legal analysts have been skeptical of that reasoning because of state laws governing gambling. That's left casinos on the sidelines, wanting to get involved or support fantasy sports but unwilling to invest or risk billions in revenues that come with highly-regulated casino-resorts. New Jersey regulators even gave the go-ahead to licensed casinos to operate their own daily fantasy sports games two years ago, but no one has done it.

    "The exception doesn't necessarily get (fantasy sports companies) to where they say it does," said A.G. Burnett, Nevada's top gambling regulator, who is working with the state's attorney general to weigh the industry's legality.

    The federal law applies to processing payments for online gambling to curb online sports betting and, to that end, allows fantasy sports companies to process transactions. But Burnett said it doesn't pre-empt other laws.

    "If a state says fantasy sports is illegal ... the fantasy companies cannot use (the act) as a get out of jail card because it quite simply doesn't apply," he said.

    So far, there have been no prosecutions challenging the sites' abilities to legally operate.

    FanDuel and DraftKings responded in a joint statement Saturday affirming their belief that they don't offer "gambling."

    "We are speaking with gaming industry representatives to educate them on the fantasy sports industry as our products are games of skill; fundamentally separate from, and not competitive with casinos and gaming businesses," the statement said.

    John McManus, general counsel for MGM Resorts International, said the company that owns several casinos on the Las Vegas Strip has a similar position on fantasy sports as it does with all forms of gambling.

    "It is not in the interests of consumers that established gaming companies, which are fully licensed and regulated, are the only market participants that cannot engage in the business," he said.

    No one wants daily fantasy to be shut down akin to prohibition or the likes of Internet poker several years ago, said Daniel Wallach, a gambling and sports attorney based in Florida.

    "This is something that everybody partakes in," said Wallach, a sports betting panelist at the upcoming Global Gaming Expo convention in Las Vegas, the top yearly casino industry conference. "It would not be a popular thing to prosecute."

    Traditional gambling companies, though, don't want to risk lucrative gambling licenses by dipping their toes in the fantasy pool, Wallach said.

    "It's more skill than luck," said Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and founder of Rotowire.com, a fantasy sports news website. "You win by making good decisions about players. You have to do a whole bunch of work to play the game, let alone win."

    The NFL has agreed.

    "Daily fantasy is considered a game of skill and not gambling," said Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL when asked why it's different than traditional sports betting.

    That reasoning doesn't necessarily fly with Las Vegas sports books.

    "What we're doing is a game of skill, too," said Johnny Avello, the longtime sports book director at the Wynn Las Vegas. Avello is trying out his own twist on fantasy sports betting on Sunday -- bettors can choose between the better of two fantasy teams he's hand-picked.

    "So why not just legalize it all," he said.

    Sookie likes this.
  2. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Administrator Staff Member

    Because of this ...

    "Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans love playing fantasy sports. But collecting winnings in fantasy sports contests is illegal under Arizona law. In fact, Arizona is one of only five states that deny its residents the right to play fantasy sports. That’s not freedom! Fantasy sports are considered a game of skill under federal law, and 45 states agree, but not Arizona."

    I just sent this to 3 of my local lawmakers ...

    I play fantasy sports. But Arizona is one of only five states that doesn’t allow its residents to play fantasy sports. That’s not right. I want to have the same rights as about 50 million other Americans who enjoy the right to play fantasy sports. Please support legislation to legalize fantasy sports.

    Fantasy sports are not—as some argue—a form of gambling. They are a game of skill and a fun entertainment that allows me to have a deeper appreciation for the sports that I love. That’s why every major professional sports league supports and promotes fantasy sports.

    I urge you to stand up for me and the other hundreds of thousands of Arizona residents who play fantasy sports and end the antiquated ban on fantasy sports in Arizona.
    Sookie likes this.
  3. Sookie

    Sookie Mother of Cats

    Well spoken Mben - gosh I've never sent a letter to any lawmakers though I've thought of it many times. :bigclap:
    Mben likes this.
  4. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks but I can't take the credit. It was a pre-written letter that after I entered in my demographics and such, the site emailed it off to them.

    I found it after I read the above news article (which goes along with what PSP said in chat last night too about AZ) and wanted to know what was up with my state. I knew I couldn't register on fantasy sites like DraftKings already since I had tried to a few weeks ago.
    Sookie likes this.
  5. Sookie

    Sookie Mother of Cats

    :lol: I suppose if I had come across a pre-written one for something i was upset about I would have too. I really should anyway though, my neighbor sends letters to the governor all the time about stuff and every time she tell me about one I think to myself ... "yeah, you're still not an adult" :oops:
    Mben likes this.

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