PokerStars Parent Company Makes Strong Statement On DFS
Legal Sports Report

Amaya Calls For State Governments To Regulate Daily Fantasy Sports In Wake Of DraftKings Leak

Victiv becomes StarsDraft
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Amaya — the parent company of PokerStars and daily fantasy sports site StarsDraft — called for state regulation of the DFS industry in the wake of the DraftKings data leak.

Statement comes at height of focus on #DKLeak

The news came from a series of tweets from vice president of corporate communications for Amaya and PokerStars head of communications, Eric Hollreiser:

That series of tweets was followed by an official statement:

The recent incidents involving the practices of the leading companies in Daily Fantasy Sports demonstrate that the current self-regulatory practices have fallen short and that we need stricter state regulation consistent with existing state consumer protections for other gaming activities.

Amaya and StarsDraft.com call on state regulators to adopt tougher restrictions that safeguard players and institute controls to ensure all operators are held to a high standard of consumer protection and business integrity. We are launching an active effort to work with states to enact legislation that meets the consumer protection interests of all parties.

Amaya is one of the most licensed gaming companies in the world and has a longstanding history of working responsibly and in partnership with regulators around the globe. Since we entered the DFS category earlier this year, we have brought regulated gaming best practices to StarsDraft’s already responsible business operations, including segregating player funds from operational funds and ensuring stringent controls that meet the demands of our compliance, audit and security departments. In addition to Know Your Customer, age and location verification, these controls include strictly monitoring, recording and restricting access to sensitive information. In light of recent events, we will be taking additional steps to ensure that our sensitive data is even further restricted, including implementing a new encryption scheme for all line-up data in upcoming contests.

Consumer and player protection is and will remain of paramount importance to Amaya and StarsDraft. Beyond our current audit, compliance and security controls, our StarsDraft DFS platform strives to lead the industry using innovative features geared towards casual sports fans. We are committed to providing a fun, fair and engaging fantasy sports experience. Contrary to industry norms, StarsDraft works to ensure a proper and fair playing field for all those involved, including explicitly forbidding the use of professional scripts and bots in our contests. We provide a Bankroll Builder program, which allows users to learn more about daily fantasy sports in a risk-free environment, and offer a suite of anonymous head-to-head competitions, which ensure that users are playing against other sports fans in randomized matchups of skill.

Amaya and DFS?

Amaya got into the daily fantasy sports industry earlier this year, when it purchased the DFS site Victiv. Soon after, the site was rebranded as StarsDraft.

StarsDraft is currently one of a number of DFS operators vying for market share behind industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

We already got a sense that Amaya and PokerStars would be very conservative in dealing with legal issues surrounding DFS. After Michigan’s gaming commission issued an opinion that DFS was illegal in the state, StarsDraft was one of the few operators that pulled out of the state.

A shrewd PR move?

As many industry observers and mainstream media outlets have questioned whether the DFS industry should continue as an unregulated industry, the move is obviously intended to make Amaya, and its flagship site PokerStars, look good. The announcement comes at a time when there is a vacuum on the part of DFS operators on the subject of regulation.

PokerStars is attempting to get back into the United States market — where it has largely been absent since 2011’s “Black Friday” for online poker. The purchase of Victiv and providing a DFS product in the U.S. was the first step; PokerStars recently received approval to operate online gambling and poker in New Jersey.

The New Jersey approval process took more than a year to complete, and PokerStars would certainly like to get into the good graces of state legislators and gaming regulators everywhere as it looks to expand its U.S. footprint. Currently, only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware offer online gambling and poker. Several other states, such as California, Pennsylvania and New York, have considered legislation.

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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