Supporters of legalizing the multibillion-dollar sports betting marketplace are ramping up efforts to enshrine policy changes nationwide. The American Gaming Association, a trade group that represents casinos and others in the gaming industry, has already been rallying support among state policymakers and officials. Now it’s bringing that campaign to Capitol Hill in full force.
The Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that it will seek to block an attempted merger between two fantasy sports betting websites, DraftKings and FanDuel. The FTC said that it has authorized legal action to prevent the merger between the two companies, which are the two biggest platforms in the online sports betting market.
The daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel have agreed to merge after a turbulent year in which both of their values plummeted as several attorneys general questioned the legality of their games in their states. The merger was one of necessity: Lobbying and legal costs had damaged both companies’ bottom lines to the extent that representatives of the companies last month asked the New York attorney general’s office to allow them to pay a combined $12 million settlement in installments after claims that they employed false and deceptive advertising practices, two people familiar with those negotiations said.
The daily fantasy sports industry is preparing to face its congressional critics for the first time. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is set to hold a hearing Wednesday morning where lawmakers have an opportunity to explore allegations that the sports websites facilitate illegal gambling.
A congressional panel will hold a long-awaited hearing on the legal status of daily fantasy sports on May 11. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider the legal status of the games, which have gained popularity in recent years, as well as other types of online betting. That will include examining the need for consumer protections.
The end of 2015 saw an uptick in lobbying related to the controversial daily fantasy sports industry, according to disclosure forms. Daily fantasy website DraftKings spent $80,000 in the last three months of the year on outside lobbying help, according to its filing. Rival FanDuel spent $50,000 on lobbying services from law firm Steptoe and Johnson. It was the first full quarter in which the firms lobbied in Washington.
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller may have pushed to legalize casinos in Maryland, but he will not champion fantasy sports-betting websites. Miller said Monday commercial fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel need to stop operating in Maryland or propose legislation to make their ventures legal in the state.
Another state has bet against fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings and moved them into the illegal gambling column. On Wednesday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told state legislators that the sites are breaking the laws of the Prairie State.
In the latest blow to the beleaguered daily fantasy sports industry, a New York judge has ordered DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. to shut down in New York while the companies fight Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in court. The ruling by Manuel Mendez is a victory for Schneiderman, who ruled last month that the companies’ contests are a form of illegal gambling.
The legal chaos that imperils the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry now officially threatens the professional sports leagues, media companies and financial institutions that have become partners with the two leading DFS companies, DraftKings and FanDuel. Two Florida-based DFS customers e-filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against approximately 50 companies and individuals that have either invested in DFS companies or facilitated DFS gaming. Among those named are Turner Sports, Time Warner, NBC Sports Comcast Ventures, 21st Century Fox and Fox Sports Interactive Media.
The ripple effects in media from New York State’s crackdown on fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel might be bigger than many industry watchers imagined, according to two reports out today. Analyses by MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson and Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger show that ad outlays by the fantasy sports firms noticeably lifted TV networks’ financial results in the third quarter.
Fantasy-sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel are fighting back against the New York attorney general’s order to cease operations in the Empire State. On Friday, the two companies separately filed appeals to stop the motion by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, filed Tuesday, that DraftKings and FanDuel are illegal gambling outlets subject to criminal penalties.
A decision by New York’s attorney general to ban FanDuel and DraftKings from offering daily fantasy sports betting threatens to cascade across the country — and trigger legal and lobbying wars in other states that might ultimately draw Washington into the fray.
Nothing seems to fluster CBS chief Les Moonves, including New York’s new attack on two of his large sports advertisers: fantasy sports powers FanDuel and DraftKings. He said Wednesday morning that while New York’s attorney general issued a cease-and-desist order yesterday, “they are not out of business … yet.” And they “are not in the top class of advertisers” led by pharmaceutical and auto companies. “We like their money. We like their advertising. We want them to succeed. But this is not a monumental event for us.”
New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that after a one-month investigation, his office had concluded that the daily contests operated by DraftKings and FanDuel are essentially games of chance, not skill, constituting illegal gambling. He ordered them to stop accepting bets.
Won’t somebody think of the children? That’s one of the common concerns in written complaints to the FCC about the massive advertising campaigns of daily fantasy sports companies, Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel.