“It’s cheating,” Oscar Figuereo, a Stony Brook University freshman and consistent FanDuel player said, expressing his disdain. “In a way, it’s robbery.”
On Oct. 5, information came to light that employees of FanDuel and DraftKings, two giants in the fantasy draft sports industry, were involved in a controversial type of insider trading scandal The rival companies were entering contests with extended data and information on players and teams. FanDuel employees could enter DraftKings contests and DraftKing employees could enter FanDuel contests with enhanced statistics and data, giving the employees a greater advantage to win.
FanDuel and DraftKings are designed to emulate the popular fantasy football leagues, but in the form of drafting a team for a week rather than the entire season. While there is money in fantasy football leagues, many people enjoy playing for fun and bragging rights. FanDuel and DraftKings are more oriented for people who want to bet on how they think certain players will perform in a week.
Ethan Haskell is a DraftKings employee who entered a large money contest on FanDuel. He came in second place with his entry and won $350,000, according to Fortune. Haskell had access to ownership data, which gave him a sense of which NFL players had not been selected by many DraftKings users, and he used it to his advantage on FanDuel. This scandalous economic incident rocked the daily fantasy world hard on its face.
Ryan Bossert, a junior at St. Joseph’s College, was a user of FanDuel for about a week, and then immediately stopped entering in contests because he was not winning any money from his fantasy lineups.
“I don’t want to lose my money,” he said. “It’s difficult to win sometimes.” He’ll continue to play season-long fantasy football for fun after giving FanDuel a shot.
Figuereo prefers FanDuel over a season-long fantasy football league because he gets a fresh start every week, even if the latter is free, he said. “If your players suffered injuries in a season-long league, you’d be stuck with them. I’d stop having fun with it if that happened. A lot of top players have already gotten injured this season.” Despite his frustration with the scandal, Figuereo said he will continue to use FanDuel.
Now, DraftKings and FanDuel employees are banned from entering daily fantasy contests because of the matter.
FanDuel was asked by ESPN and other sources on what percentage of the money was won by DraftKings employees. They responded with 0.3%. ESPN Business Sports Analyst Darren Rovell feels that the percentage is a problem and that it will rise for employees. However according to both parties, they feel that is fair because employees are putting their money into contests just like everyone else. Also he feels fantasy sports is not a game of chance but a game of skill. Everyone’s eyes are on the daily fantasy industry because of the money it hands out to big winners.
Matt Dunbar, a junior at SUNY Cortland, is an avid user of FanDuel, and he won plenty of money thanks to his penchant for creating impressive lineups.
“I’ve profited over $2,000,” Dunbar said. “I just started throwing money into bigger tournaments with better players and lost a decent amount.”
Regulators at the Nevada Gaming Commission ruled on Oct. 15 that the daily fantasy sports betting services provided by companies, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, should be considered gambling and not a game of skill, Joe Drape, a reporter for the New York Times, said. The commission ordered these websites to cease operations immediately until they and their employees receive state gambling licenses.