Most of the witness list for a Congressional hearing looking into the daily fantasy sports industry is now set.
DraftKings and FanDuel representatives were invited to attend but declined, according to a source close to the House Energy and Commerce committee.
Here are the witnesses scheduled to appear in front of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade:
- Steve Brubaker, Executive Director, Small Business Fantasy Sports Trade Association;
- Kurt Eggert, Professor of Law, Chapman University Fowler School of Law;
- Jordan Gnat, Senior Vice President, Strategic Business Development, Scientific Games;
- John M. McManus, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, MGM Resorts International;
- Ryan Rodenberg, Assistant Professor, Department of Sport Management, Florida State University;
- Peter Schoenke, President, Rotowire.com, Chairman, Fantasy Sports Trade Association;
- Lindsay Slader, Operations Manager, GeoComply;
- Mark Locke, CEO, Genius Sports
Who else isn’t in the DFS hearing?
While the absence of DraftKings or FanDuel reps is glaring, the hearing will also miss the presence of the professional sports leagues that partner with the two sites, according to ESPN’s David Purdum:
FanDuel, DraftKings, NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL were invited to testify at Congressional hearing on daily fantasy. All declined, per source.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) May 6, 2016
A closer look at the witnesses
Who are the witnesses, and why are they appearing in front of Congress on this topic? From Purdum via Twitter and from the composition of the witness list, sports betting will also be a topic of discussion.
Brubaker is a lobbyist based in Illinois who heads a trade association representing several dozen “smaller” fantasy sports companies — i.e. not DraftKings or FanDuel. The SBFSTA launched in March. He will speak on behalf of the small DFS operators, paid-entry seasonlong contest operators and content sites under the SBFSTA unbrella.
Schoenke is the other industry representative on the witness list. He has spoken in front of a variety of state legislatures on behalf of the companies that the FSTA represents. The FSTA counts nearly all DFS operators among its membership — that includes DraftKings and FanDuel.
Rodenberg is one of the foremost experts on federal law as it pertains to sports wagering; he has written an amicus brief in the ongoing New Jersey sports betting case. He will likely be consulted for his expertise on the applicable federal laws, namely UIGEA and PASPA.
Eggert is a an expert in gambling regulation. His publication — Truth in Gaming: Toward Consumer Protection in the Gambling Industry — is likely why he got the call for this hearing.
Gnat represents Scientific Games, a leader in technology for lotteries and land-based and interactive gaming; SG is also involved sports betting. Gnat appears to be called for his expertise in the realm of internet gaming.
McManus will be representing the land-based casino industry in the hearing. Casinos have generally supported the idea of regulation of the DFS industry (via the American Gaming Association). Casinos have lamented that DFS falls in a legal gray area in many states; they have been loathe to enter the DFS space, because of the possibility of putting their gaming licenses at risk. Casinos and the AGA are also supportive of legal and regulated sports betting throughout the U.S.
Slader represents GeoComply, which provides geolocation services in the online gaming space. DraftKings partnered with GeoComply in November of last year. GeoComply is capable of stopping users from entering DFS contests if they are in a location where contests are illegal.
Locke represents Genius Sports, a sports data and technology company that works with leagues around the world on game integrity issues as it relates to sports betting.