New Initiative Draws Line Between Ethical And Unethical DFS Play
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings Rolls Out Game Integrity Unit Ahead Of NFL Season

DraftKings releases community guidelines
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Much of the daily fantasy sports industry is the middle of attempting to comply with state regulations being rolled out across the US. In some cases, they are dealing with potential problems that regulations don’t even really cover.

One of those issues: rules regarding maximum entry limits for DFS contests and the possibility of collusion among players.

DraftKings announced on Thursday it has formed a Game Integrity & Ethics Team to deal with those issues.

What the DraftKings game integrity unit does

From a fact sheet released by DraftKings:

The team was built on a basic principle: It’s critical that all of our fans have FUN. And that means fairness and integrity of play must be maintained at all times.

The team “will play a pivotal role” in dealing with unethical behavior in DFS contests, according to DraftKings.

The move by DraftKings comes a week after FanDuel rebranded and offered a bill of rights for players.

The line between ethical and unethical DFS play

As part of launching the new initiative, DraftKings released community guidelines regarding fair play. The guidelines attempt to tell players in a straightforward way what’s OK and what’s not.

Things that are not acceptable from DraftKings users, according to those guidelines:

  • Team-building a lineup, or a set of complementary lineups which serve to work together, to execute a strategy that may create any unfair advantage over individual play.
  • Any use of pre-built lineups purchased from 3rd party websites or engaging in the sale of such lineups.
  • Entering the maximum number of entries in a contest, type of contest, or event, and having a 3rd party, regardless of their relationship, put in additional entries for you.
  • Having another fantasy sports player enter your lineup in a contest against an opponent that has blocked you from competition.

It’s a brand new year at DFS sites

Last fall, of course, the DFS industry was in a much different place. A data leak at DraftKings — and the revelation that employees of DraftKings and FanDuel played at each other’s sites — led to increased media and government scrutiny of DFS. (Employees are no longer allowed to play in DFS contests at the other’s site.)

DraftKings and FanDuel are being more proactive this summer in trying to assure customers that its contests are being run above board, in advance of NFL season.

Part of that, of course, is out of necessity, as the sites are attempting to comply with regulations enacted in eight states — the latest in DraftKings’ home state of Massachusetts.

Regulations and stopping collusion

Many of those regulations include provisions regarding the maximum number of entries any user may enter for a given contest. But they usually stop short of dealing directly with the idea of collusion — two or more players working in concert. Simply enforcing the maximum entry limit for a single account is certainly easy enough to be in basic compliance — but stopping collusion by players is more difficult.

It’s not clear that any state’s regulations actually

That’s where the terms of use of sites like DraftKings come in:

In addition, conduct that would be deemed improper also includes, but is not limited to:

  • Colluding with any other individual(s) or engaging in any type of syndicate play;

DraftKings, of course, attempted to stop collusion in the past, but the new unit signals a larger commitment to that effort.

Two such possible incidents have been pointed out at the forums of DFS content site RotoGrinders (here and here). In one of those two incidents, a player some alleged was working in concert with another user won the Millionaire Maker for The British Open.

DraftKings told Legal Sports Report it does not comment on any actions taken against its users, and had no comment on the specific allegations regarding any users trying to skirt the maximum entry limits or working together.

But it’s clear that DraftKings is working toward a zero-tolerance policy regarding collusion and attempts to enter more lineups than are allowed. Simply put, it’s not in DraftKings’ best interest to allow any sort of collusion. The integrity of its contests outstrips revenue gained from high-volume players that try to collude.

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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