Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts International, offered a few choice comments today on the subject of daily fantasy sports at a media briefing in Washington D.C..
Professional sports representatives who consider DFS as something other than gambling are “absolutely, utterly wrong,” said Murren.
Murren’s comments were reported by Steve Tetreault of the LVRJ.
“I don’t know how to run a football team but I do know how to run a casino, and this is gambling,” Murren added.
Murren’s remarks came on the same day that the Louisiana legislature moved a bill that would exempt some forms of fantasy through a House committee.
Louisiana’s bill is one of several active state-based legislative efforts related to fantasy sports.
AGA to study DFS, along with sports betting
AGA President Geoff Freeman indicated that the report would be released in November of this year.
MGM’s plans for DFS space
According to sources close to the company, MGM has carefully studied the market and was at one point quite close to moving ahead with the launch of a DFS site.
From the tone of Murren’s comments, it appears that those plans have been paused more than shelved.
“Clearly [DFS] cannot be ignored and it is gambling,” he said.
“We have not engaged in it as a commercial enterprise because we haven’t gotten comfort by our regulators that we should.”
The impact of commercial casino involvement in DFS
The entrance of a major land-based casino entity into the daily fantasy sports space would likely have immediate and substantial impacts on the industry:
Regulatory overhead: Gaming companies would likely bring gaming regulators, possibly nipping the DFS industry’s current strategy of pushing for self-regulation. That oversight would bring significant costs and erect new barriers to entry.
Public perception: The association of a major gambling brand with the activity could make it more difficult to continue to position the activity as something wholly apart from gambling.
Legislative interest: Likewise, the interest and attitudes of lawmakers toward the daily fantasy sports space could change in powerful and unpredictable ways with the entry of a brand synonymous with Las Vegas casino gambling.