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Sporting News: DFS Scandal Blur Goodell, NFL Line Between Fantasy and Gambling

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Oct/07/2015
Sporting New: DFS Scandal Blur Goodell, NFL Line Between Fantasy and Gambling

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke at the owners’ meetings Wednesday, addressing the recent scandal concerning Daily Fantasy Sports.

The NFL is a major partner in the DFS industry.  Over the weekend news broke that a DraftKings employee with access to critical inside data concerning player ownership percentages had won $350,000 at the competing site FanDuel.  The controversy ignited a media firestorm over the past 48 hours with the calls for regulation coming fast and furious. 

The scandal has also raised questions as to whether Daily Fantasy Sports constitutes gambling. 

“In daily fantasy, it’s hard to see the influence that it could have on an outcome of a game,’’ Goodell said, “because individual players are picking different players on different teams, mashing them up, you might call it that. And it’s not based on the outcome of the game, which is what our biggest concern is with sports betting.

“So our position continues to be that way. But we recognize some states consider it legal, some don’t. We’ll follow the law, and make sure we do.’’

On Tuesday, New York’s Attorney General General Eric T. Schneiderman demanded the names, job titles and descriptions of any employees who aggregate and compile a wide range of data that perhaps could be used to gain a personal advantage — including ownership percentages and pricing algorithms. Both DraftKings and FanDuel, which maintain offices in Manhattan, have until Oct. 15 to respond.

The NFL must also explain its stance in the wake of a lawsuit to prevent the state of New Jersey from legalizing sports betting. 

From Sporting News:

New Jersey recognizes fantasy sports, but the NFL is one of the major sports leagues that has fought the state’s efforts to legalize betting on games. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, the state’s biggest supporter of sports betting, knows the NFL’s arguments by heart.

“It’s a distinction without a difference,’’ Lesniak said earlier Wednesday, before Goodell spoke.

Lesniak thinks that eventually the distinction will be erased in court, where New Jersey is still fighting to legalize betting on NFL games. He’s aware that the courts have allowed fantasy but blocked betting in most states, but added, “They see the games, they see the advertising. I’m hoping this has a subliminal effect and helps them see what (we) see.’’

Not yet, according to Goodell, who referred to the 2006 federal law that banned online poker but permitted fantasy sports, labeling it a game of “skill” rather than chance.

However, he all but admitted that daily fantasy sports is still a gray area the NFL is trying to navigate, even though it’s advertised all over his sport.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

 

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