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DFS has riled up quite the scandal in both Canada and the US in recent years. Although the issue is still partially unresolved, it is clear that DFS is a much loved activity. Here are five things you may not know about DFS, for the avid player.
#1. DFS Originated from Poker
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (U.I.G.E.A.) of 2006, caused dozens of online poker rooms to leave the U.S. market. But what does that have to do with DFS? Well, it has roots in poker. About a year following the act, the professional poker player Chris Fargis started a new business venture called Instant Fantasy Sports. Fargis explained that the idea was to “take the time frame of season-long fantasy sports leagues and shrink it. […] The site will look familiar to many of you who are reading this blog because it’s set up a lot like an online poker site.” according to NY Times.
Fargis continued, “Given the current state of online gaming, the next logical question is, ‘Is this site legal?’ […] Happily, I’m able to tell you that fantasy sports games are explicitly protected by the U.I.G.E.A. (the same law that tgave online poker trouble in the U.S.A.). Instant Fantasy Sports is one hundred percent legal in the U.S.A. and Canada.” According to his Twitter account, Fargis is now a Director of Product at DraftKings.
#2. DraftKings Employee Caused Scandal
September 27, 2015 was a day that caused uproar in the sphere of fantasy sports. A two week investigation was launched by law firm Greenberg Traurig after a DraftKings employee accidentally released internal data showing player ownership percentages for all weekend NFL games, previously not available to the public.
That weekend, the employee who leaked the information, Ethan Haskell, won $350,000 from placing second in a NFL contest on rival site FanDuel. This caused scandal as it was considered that employees had an unfair advantage over regular DFS players, and made a profit based on industry expertise.
ESPN reported the case, with the investigation concluding as follows: “[Greenberg Traurig] has confirmed the company’s conclusion that Mr. Haskell could not possibly have entered the winning lineup based upon his receipt of the company’s non-public aggregate ownership percentage information, because he did not receive that information until 40 minutes after the lineup was locked.” Nonetheless, the players were not happy, leading us to the next point.
#3. DraftKings and FanDuel Employees can not Bet on DFS
Following the scandal involving Ethan Haskell, DraftKings and FanDuel, employees of DFS sites may not bet on rival sites. Originally the DFS sites prohibited employee participation limited to their own sites. They now slam down any possible advantages that employees may have.
Huffington Post reported: “The two largest daily fantasy sports websites (DraftKings and FanDuel) permanently banned their employees Wednesday from participating in fantasy contests for money, two days after a scandal erupted within the industry.”
A FanDuel spokesperson, Justine Sacco, told ESPN that “DraftKings employees won 0.3% of the money the company has awarded in its history.” The article by ESPN calculated that this could amount to $6 million in winnings, now in the pocket of DraftKings employees.
#4. Texas Banned FanDuel, but DraftKings can still Play
If you are a resident of Texas you can use DraftKings, but not FanDuel. This came after, “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the state reached a settlement with FanDuel that would have the daily fantasy sports operator leave the state on May 2” according to Legal Sports Report.
This is a big deal. Legal Sports Report states that: “According to research from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, Texas accounted for roughly 300,000 unique paying players industry-wide in 2015, or roughly 8% of the total market in terms of active paying players. It’s believed to be one of the top five states in terms of revenue for FanDuel.” DraftKings was not directly mentioned in the statement, and is to challenge the opinion on DFS legality in Texas even though DraftKings will benefit from Texan FanDuel players looking to continue with DFS.
#5. Canadian Poker Pro Daniel Negreanu Plays on FanDuel
Negreanu takes a lot of time from his busy schedule to participate in fantasy sports. As well as playing DFS with FanDuel, he also partakes in a fantasy hockey league called The Alternative Hockey League.
All In Mag’s Chris Tessaro went inside Negreanu’s long-running fantasy league, proving how dedicated the ‘Kid Poker’ is to the realm of fantasy. For the draft, Tessaro claims: “Daniel flies into Toronto every year for our draft without fail. The man doesn’t fly economy. So his round-trip first-class ticket and hotel is costing him considerably more than he can win.” As well as monetary dedication, he also noted that, “Daniel locked himself into a hotel room in Michigan for days to look over players for his draft.”
Despite the controversy, fantasy sport is without a doubt a fun activity, and DFS alike take skill and dedication.
If you want to learn more about the legality of DFS in Canada, check out, Fantasy Sports Betting in Canada: Is it legal to know your rights when it comes to fantasy sports!