Scandal rocks fantasy football industry

If you’ve watched sports on TV at all lately you’ve heard about “Fan Duel” and “DraftKings,” two huge companies that tell men on couches something they truly want to believe — deep knowledge of something relatively inconsequential can lead to financial glory.

Draftpot co-founder and CEO Joey Levy, foreground, works with co-founder and CTO Joshua Hughes, center, and co-founder and developer Jessica Vandebon at the Fantasy Football operation's workspace, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in New York. After starting up from their dorm rooms at Columbia University earlier this year, the operation paid out $220,000 in it's first week online. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Draftpot co-founder and CEO Joey Levy, foreground, works with co-founder and CTO Joshua Hughes, center, and co-founder and developer Jessica Vandebon at the Fantasy Football operation’s workspace, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in New York. After starting up from their dorm rooms at Columbia University earlier this year, the operation paid out $220,000 in it’s first week online. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Advertising for fantasy football is so ubiquitous even conservative political radio host Sean Hannity is pimping it.

One advertisement for Fan Duel features a regular Joe telling the audience he made “millions” by investing/wagering only $25 (or something equally motivational).

People are making money alright. According to the New York Times, employees of the company who are privy to insider information are raking it in.

Both companies have issued statements confirming their employees won large sums on the other company’s website.

One employee, a midlevel content manager at DraftKings who was outed when he accidentally released insider information early, won $350,000 at FanDuel.

The industry is making money too. It is expected to take in $2.6 billion in entry fees this year.

Curiously, the NFL has long been opposed to any form of gambling, but DraftKings is partially owned by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Robert K. Kraft of the New England Patriots. The NYT writes “DraftKings and FanDuel have found eager partners in N.F.L. teams.”

How is playing fantasy football for money different from gambling?

Good question.

A 2006 federal law made it legal to bet on fantasy sports outcomes, but did not legalize betting on individual games. Fantasy sports are a game of skill, not chance, according to bipartisan backers of the law.

Letting people spend real money on fantasy sports may be the last thing Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price and Democrat Rep. Sanford Bishop agreed on.

The Senate approved the new law with a 98-0 vote — Sens. Obama and Clinton joined forces with Georgia conservatives Isakson and Chambliss.

Even though I don’t gamble, I have no problem with other people doing it. But I do have a problem with employees of the companies having an unfair, insider advantage to making millions.

What do they think this is? Wall Street?


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