DraftKings External Review: Employee Did Not Use Data To Gain Advantage In FanDuel Contest

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DraftKings Haskell

A third-party review commissioned by DraftKings and released Monday concludes that DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell did not engage in any wrongdoing in connection with a data leak at the daily fantasy sports site.

ESPN was first to report. A copy of the results of the review is available here.

The basics of the DraftKings review

The report by law firm Greenberg Traurig (a two-page document that you can read here) confirms the results of an internal investigation that DraftKings had referred to previously, in both published statements and interviews given by CEO Jason Robins.

From the report:

GT has received complete cooperation from the Company at every turn, and has been given unfettered access to all documents, systems, and individuals. GT’s independent investigation has confirmed that the Company’s initial findings were correct, and that the allegations that Mr. Haskell gained an unfair advantage in the $5M NFL Sunday Million contest due to his possession of the Company’s non-public information are without merit.

GT’s independent investigation has concluded that it was impossible for Mr. Haskell to have gained such an advantage in the FanDuel contest in which he won a prize because he received the non-public information forty minutes after the deadline for submitting his lineup in the FanDuel contest.

Greenberg Traurig noted the following was involved in its investigation:

The backstory of the DraftKings review

The investigation refers to the incident on September 27, when Haskell inadvertently released data regarding DraftKings’ biggest contest — the Millionaire Maker — prior to the start of some of the NFL games involved in the contest. The data leak was noted that same day on DFS community RotoGrinders. Haskell — DraftKings’ written content manager — won $350,000 at FanDuel the week of the data leak.

The data had been posted after FanDuel’s contests locked, but while DraftKings’ “late-swap” feature was still available to make changes to their lineups. Haskell, and no DraftKings employees, were ever allowed to enter contests at their own site.

Despite widespread media reports that made allegations that Haskell may have used this information at FanDuel, there had never been any evidence of impropriety by him, as we noted in our initial story.

The proximity of the two events captured the media’s attention and called attention to the issue of security of data at DraftKings, FanDuel and other DFS sites, while highlighting the questions of who has access to critical data, and when.

The ensuing media fallout resulted in employees of both DraftKings and FanDuel being excluded from playing DFS anywhere.

Full external review of DraftKings still in progress?

The scope of this statement from Greenberg Traurig and DraftKings is extremely narrow in its focus, establishing Haskell’s innocence.

The larger external review that DraftKings is undergoing about its company and processes is still ongoing, according to ESPN reporter David Purdum.

Robins had this to say, according to ESPN:

“DraftKings is fully committed to operating our daily fantasy sports games in a manner that is completely transparent and fair for all players,” Robins said in Monday’s release. “We will continue to work with all relevant authorities to ensure that sports fans can continue to enjoy the daily fantasy sports experience they love.”

The larger, overarching questions regarding the data leak still remain.

For instance, the data inadvertently posted by Haskell is obviously accessible by employees at DraftKings; when such data can be accessed, what other data can be accessed and by whom are all unanswered questions that the larger external review are expected to answer.