Legal Sports Report

This Week In Daily: April 17, 2015

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“This Week In Daily” is LegalSportsReport’s weekly wrap of key facts, happenings and miscellany from the daily fantasy sports industry.

Stories of note

FanDuel Streaming Live

The fast-moving industry of daily fantasy sports took a quick and somewhat unexpected turn this week, as FanDuel launched a daily talk show that will be broadcast on the live streaming service, Twitch.

Twitch has been looking to expand its reach from its core audience, which is mostly video gamers. A few months ago, Twitch and online poker started collaborating. And, as we’ve noted before, there are some parallels between poker and DFS.

While RotoGrinders.com has live streamed content for some time via YouTube, this is clearly taking DFS and streaming to a new level. Will being the first mover on Twitch pay off for FanDuel? The premiere episode was mostly a talk show broadcast on Twitch. But the show will eventually hope to take advantage of Twitch’s capability of live interaction via video and chat with DFS players, an angle that certainly has potential.

Want to check out the show? It’s on Monday through Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Pacific.

Lobbying game steps up

More news for FanDuel, which announced this week that it was joining the Internet Association, which lobbies on behalf of some of the largest online companies in the world (i.e. Google and Facebook).

According to the story at “The Hill”:

“As FanDuel continues to grow and redefine how sports fans play fantasy sports on the Internet, it was critical that we joined the Internet Association to participate and engage on important policy issues affecting Internet companies,” the company’s CEO said in a statement.

That news comes as more and more states have been considering legislation to legalize or regulate the DFS space (see the latest examples of Texas, Louisiana and Illinois). When considered in concert with this tweet from the iGaming North America conference, it signals that the industry might start being more proactive on the legislative front:

Of the week

Read(s) of the week

“Why the next sports empire will be built on eSports”

This story isn’t about fantasy sports; it is about the new frontier of eSports, from which a burgeoning DFS niche has grown. The market for fans who want to watch gamers play games like League of Legends and Counterstrike — on the aforementioned Twitch — is huge. According to the story, eSports “consumption is so great that Twitch is already larger than 70% of American television networks.”

What does that have to do with DFS? The story comes on the heels of a $12 million round of funding for fantasy eSports company Vulcun, which has grown astronomically in its first few months of existence. The huge viewership and the global nature of eSports lends itself to fantasy sports, and there has been a huge appetite for DFS from gaming fans so far in 2015. And it seems like it’s only going to get bigger.

“Why Daily Fantasy Sports ‘Against The House’ Is Likely Illegal And Could Destabilize The Industry”

DFS legal analyst Marc Edelman tackles a form of DFS that isn’t terribly common, but also might not be terribly legal. He writes about DFS contests where you play “against the house” instead of against other players, which continues to blur the lines between DFS and sports betting.

Edelman warns that these types of contests might not fall within the purview of the fantasy sports carveout in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. And that even if they do, these sites run the risk of offering long-odds wagers that they wouldn’t be able to pay out if they actually happened.

Is his opinion spot on? Sites as large as DraftDay certainly don’t agree with his assessment, as they offer games similar to what he refers to. Sites have their legal teams go through the possible pitfalls of contests before they offer them. So for now, the verdict is still out.

“The Potential Downfall Of Daily Fantasy Sports” 

This is actually more like the opposite of a “good read,” but it’s so weird, we had to share it. The CEO of America’s Cardroom “warns” people about the pitfalls of DFS in this blog post.

Why is this so strange? ACR is an offshore online poker room that serves American players, even after a 2011 crackdown on online poker in the U.S. ACR has problems with payment processing because of legal issues in the United States. Just this week, an ACR rep tweeted this to a well-known poker pro, about depositing at ACR: “tell your bank its for sporting goods from China. Not gambling. Sporting goods from China”.

Anyway, it’s a really weird post from a dubious poker site. Take it for what it’s worth.

Tweets of the week

Number of the week

Eight

The number of states that have considered some type of DFS legislation in 2015, with Illinois joining that list this week.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.
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