New Daily Fantasy Sports Consumer Protection Initiatives Proposed By DraftDay, NCPG

Written By Dustin Gouker on December 9, 2015
DraftDay DFS Guidelines

[toc]Daily fantasy sports operator DraftDay, in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling, announced the latest effort to create improved standards, guidelines and consumer protections for the DFS industry.

The effort from DraftDay and the NCPG joins regulations proposed in Massachusetts by attorney general Maura Healey, as well as regulatory schemes proposed in bills in a variety of states.

It also comes in the same week as the National Conference of State Legislatures takes up the issue of regulating DFS in a forum on Thursday.

Rich Roberts, CEO of DraftDay, offered the following about the guidelines put forward this week:

“Since Viggle Inc. and Sportech acquired DraftDay, our immediate priority has been to bring the same safety and consumer protection to DraftDay that Sportech provides its customers in the regulated U.S. and worldwide gaming markets. With calls for stricter consumer protection by many state governments, DraftDay, in conjunction with the NCPG, has created a set of skill-based daily fantasy sports consumer-oriented policies to address each state’s increased demands for safety and accountability.”

DraftDay, which was sold to Sportech and Viggle in September, has been working toward operating in a regulated environment for DFS. Sportech, a company based in the U.K., already provides pool betting and pari-mutuel systems and technologies, and operates wagering venues under gaming licenses.

DraftDay is a B2B focused DFS site; it already has in place a deal to work with an off-track wagering company in New York as a white-label solution.

The basics of the DFS guidelines

The proposed guidelines — which can be read here in their entirety are termed a “work-in-progress intended to assist stakeholders in developing guidelines.”

Here are the guidelines, in broad strokes:

  • Age verification for users should take place upon registration, upon depositing, or upon entering a contest; operators “should put in place technical and operational measures to prevent access by those who are underage.”
  • Customers should be “geolocated, to ensure that they are not attempting to participate from a restricted or excluded state.”
  • Operators should not allow “scripting” of any type, particularly scripts that allow players to automatically enter a variety of lineups and contests.
  • Operators should allow users to create a time limit or “timeout” period, limit their deposits, and have the ability to self-exclude themselves. Sites should not be able to offer a line of credit.
  • Operators should provide information about responsible gaming and links to resources.
  • Operators should make a “commitment to responsible advertising,” including the idea that ads “should not misrepresent the frequency or extent of winning or target people with game-play problems or minors.”
  • Operators should institute staff training on “responsible gameplay policies and procedures.”

The NCPG and the DFS guidelines

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the NCPG, offered this in a press release announcing the guidelines:

“The NCPG works with all stakeholders to promote responsible consumer protection and encourage all fantasy sports companies to adopt these guidelines. We worked with DraftDay and others to develop these policies based on our existing best-practice Internet Responsible Gambling Standards, that meet or exceed online responsible gaming requirements in every U.S. jurisdiction. Our relationship with Sportech in regulated gaming industries gives us confidence that DraftDay will bring the same consumer protection focus to the daily fantasy sports industry.”

The NCPG also said it “encourages all fantasy sports companies and organizations like the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and Fantasy Sports Control Agency to adopt these provisions” in its release.

The FSCA is a planned self-regulatory body that would serve as an overarching organization for the DFS industry, in the absence of state or federal regulation.

What other sites are doing on DFS standards

To some extent, some of these ideas are already being put in place by some operators, albeit in a piecemeal fashion. For instance:

  • Star Fantasy Leagues is pursuing the same basic B2B, white-label model as DraftDay, and also has been preparing to work in regulated environment. The site already falls in line with many of these guidelines.
  • FanDuel has put in place increased identity verification standards for users.
  • DraftKings has partnered with GeoComply for geolocation, and also has rolled out a “responsible gaming” section on its website, with the ability to easily self exclude oneself.

Without an oversight organization, or information from individual operators, it’s unclear the level to which most DFS operators would currently fall in line with these guidelines.

The proposed standards continue a trend toward outlining best practices for the DFS industry as stakeholders and lawmakers across the country consider the best path forward.

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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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