Posts Tagged ‘professional sports betting software’

Talks continue over how to limit but still expand gambling in Florida

TALLAHASSEE The deadline has passed for the Seminole Tribe to complete its negotiations with the state over whether it will be allowed to continue operating lucrative blackjack games at its Hard Rock casinos but the cards are still on the table.

The stakes are so high for all the parties involved in Florida’s complicated gaming landscape that legislators and the governor’s office are trying to negotiate a way to turn a deal on the card games into a blueprint for gaming across the state by the onset of the legislative session on Jan. 12.

Among the issues: the prospect of another slots casino in Miami, slot machines in Palm Beach and Fort Myers, a requirement that future gambling licenses get statewide voter approval, and the promise of $3 billion in gaming proceeds directed into the state treasury over the next 7 years.

“We’re still talking, still hashing,” said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, the Senate’s lead negotiator who, along with the House’s negotiator, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been meeting with the governor’s general counsel, Tim Cerio, and lawyers for the Seminole Tribe.

“We know that the money is important to the governor,” Diaz said. “We know the constitutional amendment to limit gaming in the future is important to the House. We know that local requests are important to the Senate, because they need to pick up votes. But since there’s been no big agreement, everything has been in flux.”

The legal agreement, known as a compact, was first forged in 2010 to last 20 years. It gave the Seminole Tribe the exclusive right to operate slot machines at its five casinos outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties in exchange for a share of its revenues to the state — about $230 million a year.

Under the agreement, the tribe agreed to pay at least $234 million a year in exchange for the exclusive right to operate slot machines at four casinos outside of Miami-Dade and Broward. The tribe also got exclusive rights to blackjack, chemin de fer and baccarat at the Hard Rock Casinos near Hollywood and Tampa, and three other casinos, but that provision expired July 31, 2015.

When the deadline passed last summer, the Tribe had a 90-day grace period to reach a new deal with the state or shut the games down. Despite efforts to reach a deal, nothing was settled and the grace period has ended.

Things are very different than they were in 2009, the last time the compact was negotiated.

Florida House negotiator Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami

Faced with an inevitable lawsuit from the state, the Tribe sued the state first in October — saying that regulators have been violating the compact since 2011 by allowing competitors to operate look-alike electronic blackjack and baccarat with a live dealer by using slot machine software.

As a result, the Tribe argues that it has a right to start offering the banked card games at its Brighton and Big Cypress casinos, although it has not done so yet.

The state countersued and asked a court to shut down the Tribe’s blackjack tables. It argues that because there are 15 years left in the compact, it is not negotiating in bad faith.

Now, as the lawsuits move along the legal track, Florida lawmakers are trying to forge a new agreement along a political track. Any agreement to extend the card games must be ratified by the Florida Legislature.

For legislators, this is more than a fight over who holds the cards. In the last five years, Florida’s budget has become addicted to the Seminoles’ gambling money.

As the economy soured, the Tribe sent the state checks for $1.1 billion, which helped prop up a declining budget. This year the payments included bonus checks of about $45 million, extra money because the tribe’s profits exceeded the amount required for minimum payments and payments the Tribe agreed to make during the grace period.

If the governor and Legislature refuse to renew blackjack at the Tribe’s casinos, the compact allows the Seminoles to reduce payments, excluding revenues from its Broward casinos and its card games. That equates to a loss of about $100 million a year to the state’s treasury, according to state revenue forecasters.

But blackjack cards likely won’t stop turning at the Hard Rock casinos. Instead, the Legislature could do what South Florida’s horse and dog track and jai-alai frontons want them to do: replace the lost revenue by allowing their casinos to operate blackjack. Those proceeds would be taxed under state law and, under federal Indian gaming law, the tribe could keep its cards.

While much of the debate evolves around money, the compact offers the state more than money. It is also offers gaming opponents a means to limit gambling expansion in Florida and it gives competing gaming operators a vehicle to expand their games or lower their tax rates.

One proposal would allow for a portion of the revenues from the compact to supplement purses for thoroughbred horse races, now running at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs.

Under the compact, only games authorized in Florida by Feb. 1, 2010, are allowed in the state unless they are offered by the Seminole Tribe, but the governor and legislators want to modify that and allow dog tracks in Palm Beach and Lee counties the ability to operate slot machines on the premise that voters in those communities have already approved the idea.

The Seminoles are opposed to any expansion of slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward, Diaz said, making the issue a critical sticking point for negotiators.

Diaz said that while the resort casino proposed for Miami’s bayshore by Malaysian-based Genting is off the table, offering a license of another slots-only casino in Miami is being discussed.

“We’re still at the 30-thousand foot level so we’re not down to details yet,” he said. In addition to the Genting’s Miami site, owners of the Fontainebleau have also expressed an interest in a slots casino on Miami Beach.

Daily Fantasy Sports betting also could get snagged by the existing compact provisions, argue gaming lawyers Daniel L. Wallach and Marc W. Dunbar in an October article in Gaming Law Review and Economics.

Two legislators, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, have filed a bill declaring that the Fantasy Sports games are not gambling, but games of skill. But by passing a change in law, that could confirm that the games were previously not legal “and could jeopardize the exclusivity afforded the Seminole Tribe under that compact,” the lawyers argue.

For John Sowinski, president of the anti-gambling group No Casinos, Inc., the compact was sold to voters with a “zero expansion policy” and any attempt to use the renewal of the blackjack provisions to expand gambling would violate that promise.

“The banked card games portion of the compact was sold to the public as a ‘firewall against the further expansion of gambling in Florida,’ ” Sowinski wrote legislators last month. “The logic was that the revenue enhancements provided to the state for the Seminole Tribe’s privilege of operating banked card games would be sufficient to keep the state from violating strict exclusivity enjoyed by the Tribe.”

No Casinos wants no additional slot casinos outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties, proceeds from the compact used to buy back pari-mutuel licenses at struggling facilities, such as dog tracks that say their business model is no longer economically viable.

Gov. Rick Scott has already hinted he is open to expanding gambling in some places, and retracting it in others. In 2014, he tried and failed to negotiate a agreement that would have raised $2 billion over seven years, allowed the Tribe to build an eighth casino on its land near Fort Pierce, and allow the Seminoles to add craps and roulette.

But the governor failed to consult the Legislature before he signed off on the plan and the agreement fell apart when lawmakers rejected it.

This year, the governor’s negotiators have been more circumspect about the prospects of reaching an agreement. When Scott sent the Legislature a proposed budget last week, he excluded any anticipated revenues from the card games and the current budget also does not depend on the card game money.

“Things are very different than they were in 2009, the last time the compact was negotiated,” Diaz said.

“Then, the state was starved for money so they were going to do whatever they could do to get it done. This time, state’s in a little better position for money and the Seminoles are in a much better position than they were in 2009, too.”

Mary Ellen Klas: @MaryEllenKlas,

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Larry Pickering: File reopened on alleged sport scam

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Income Access to launch affiliate programme for Xela’s

Launched in 2005 and licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, offers it services in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Thai and Indonesian.

Alongside its core sportsbook, the site also offers casino and poker products as well as a live dealer offering and financial betting solution.

The launch of its new affiliate programme, which will feature Income Access’ ad tracking software, will be promoted with a flat 40 per cent revenue share agreement for new sign-ups for their first three months driving traffic to the site.

“I’m excited for us to launch our affiliate programme on the Income Access platform, whose reputation in streamlining affiliate management is second to none,” head of affiliates for the UK Stephanie Wynters commented.

“We’re also looking forward to using their Ad Serving tool to improve the performance of our affiliate marketing campaigns and of our other acquisition channels as well.”

The new programme will be managed in-house by the affiliate team, led by Wynters.

“A huge brand in the Asian market, is growing rapidly in popularity among European sports-betting and casino players,” Income Access founder and CEO Nicky Senyard said.

“It offers a major opportunity to affiliates in both verticals and in the emerging vertical of financial betting as well.”

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Instagram’s battle for eyeballs – The West Australian

Instagram is in a fight for eyeballs

Mike Krieger is still reeling from California-to-Europe jet lag, but when you ask him to recount the past five years, he perks up instantly.

Krieger has no trouble rattling through a list of highlights: in 2010, he quit his job to help a friend build a smartphone app for sharing photos.

Mike Krieger

In 2015, that app — Instagram — is used by 400 million people, from David Beckham to the Dalai Lama, and has immortalised moments from the Oscars to Hurricane Katrina in its signature square frames. In the past five years, more than 40 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, and 80 million are uploaded daily.

Five years on, Instagram has grown up.

It was acquired by social networking giant Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, and since then has seen exponential growth in users, and launched three standalone apps.

Now, 75 per cent of its users live outside the US, where the app was born.

“It’s really fascinating because it’s no longer a ’one size fits all’ approach,” Sao Paolo-born Krieger said. “Instagram Direct [a private inbox] is huge in Saudi Arabia, and in Kuwait, they are using Instagram to sell sheep”

Instagram’s “power-users” tend to be teenagers, celebrities and models who post polished, artfully arranged images of food, fashion and design.

At a Paris Fashion Week dinner hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour for Instagram, the doyenne of women’s glossy magazines said: “Instagram has taught me so much about all of you here. Stella [McCartney], I know what flowers not to send you, Donatella [Versace], I would like to come back as your dog Audrey” The comments were a testament to Instagram’s position in our cultural zeitgeist.

Anna Wintour

Instagram has evolved into a powerful way to record global events from millions of perspectives.

In the 24 hours after the recent Paris attacks, the platform saw more than 70 million people share their support and prayers for Parisians, through 430 million photos, “likes” and comments. One image, artist Jean Julien’s simple “Peace for Paris” logo, became a viral symbol of the attacks on the internet. “We want to help people see the real world through Instagram,” says Krieger.

To make Instagram into this real-time platform, chief technology officer Krieger and his co-founder and chief executive officer Kevin Systrom have transformed it from a photo album into a live-streamed multimedia timeline. Their primary tool: video.

“I was scrolling through my feed down to photos from 2012 the other day, and I suddenly realised, ’Oh, this was before video, there’s no video in my feed,” Krieger says. “We just take it for granted now”.

It’s clear that video is a priority for Instagram as it sets out its future. And it’s not the only concern betting on it. As we all whip out our phones to capture a moment, there’s a battle for which app we choose to post on: Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope or Vine for bite-sized clips. For longer, more crafted videos, YouTube is being elbowed by newcomers like Facebook.

Earlier this month, Snapchat announced that it had 6 billion video views a day, catapulting it into the same league as Instagram’s parent, Facebook, which recently announced 8 billion daily video views. “Over the next few years, video is going to be some of the most engaging content online,” Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told analysts during its recent results update.

Ultimately, it’s a battle for eyeballs.

A PwC report says the UK market for digital video advertising on social networks and news websites is expected to grow by nearly 25 per cent every year for the next five years; revenues from video advertising on social media such as Facebook or YouTube and news websites will reach pounds 717 million in 2018.

Instagram is only just dipping its toes into this market. It started allowing users to share 15-second videos in 2013. A year later, it launched a standalone app, Hyperlapse, to record time-lapse videos. In the same year, Instagram began to allow video ads, which can last up to 30 seconds.

“Video is really important to us,” Krieger says. “We are interested in the full spectrum from the still photo to the full-length video, and we’re trying to carve out a niche there”

In June, Instagram revamped its Explore feature, which lays out the platform’s content by trending hashtags and location search, making it simpler to follow events or trends.

During Halloween, the app launched a curated video stream around the holiday, in a direct nod to rivals Snapchat and Twitter, whose curation tools, known as Stories and Moments respectively, compile multimedia posts from sports or music events and holidays into a single story.

“You could watch Halloween as it happened. It was almost like having a mini-TV experience around Heidi Klum preparing her costume, or astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station,” Krieger says. All the videos were curated by Instagram’s own editorial team.

Last month, Instagram launched its second video app — Boomerang — to share videos that extend a photo a few seconds beyond when it was taken.

The idea is to make short clips that don’t require planning. “So you don’t have to think about the narrative of a video, with a beginning, middle and end. It’s a photo that just moves a little and draws you into the moment”

Doesn’t Boomerang sound a lot like Live Photos, the tool that Apple just released as part of its iOS 9 software update? “Live Photos are fun, it’s kind of like a delightful surprise that I can find later,” Krieger says, waving his new iPhone 6S Plus at me.

Perhaps the difference is that Boomerang is more intentional, he suggests. “You have to choose to create it, it’s not a default”

So what will the next five years of Instagram look like? “The word for me is teleportation,” he says.

Already, engineers from Facebook-owned virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift come over to the Instagram floor every couple of months to chat.

“They’re asking, all right, when are we building the 360-degree Instagram viewer?” Krieger laughs. “How cool would that be?”

Recently, Facebook enabled 360-degree videos on its platform – these are shot with cameras that record panoramic views from a fixed point, so you can explore a scene from different angles. Instagram can’t be far behind.

For the next stage in Instagram’s evolution, Krieger wants to let people experience events halfway around the world, especially since the majority of Instagrammers now live outside the US. The company has opened an engineering office in New York and started experimenting with this idea.

One of its first prototypes was an Instagram live window into different parts of the world through user videos — similar to the live-streaming app, Periscope. “It was a super-rough early beta, but there was something magical about seeing the world through other perspectives,” Krieger says.

Being a music lover — his favourite band is The National and he plays guitar — Krieger’s favourite examples are being able to get snippets of a festival or a live concert in another country. But it can be more, he says: “Even when the ’Je Suis Charlie’ demonstrations were happening in Paris, how powerful would it be to feel like you’re there? That’s what I get really excited about”

Snapshot Instagram in an instant:

Krieger’s favourite account is Scott Kelly, an astronaut who Instagrams from space

His dog Juno has her own Instagram account with over 5k followers

In the UK, there are over 14m monthly active users

Over 40bn photos have been shared on Instagram

The top 5 UK Instagrammers are Harry Styles (1D), David Beckham, Niall Horan (1D), Gareth Bale and Liam Payne (1D)

The West Australian

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FanDuel suspending all paid fantasy sports contests in NY

What’s more, the state’s attorney general would likely challenge such a law on the basis that it violates the state constitution’s gambling prohibition, said Karl Sleight, an Albany, New York-based gaming lawyer.

But the federal law has an exception for fantasy sports.

NY has proven a lucrative revenue stream and a pricey promotional outlet for both sites.

FanDuel says contests will run for New Yorkers who entered before 2:30 p.m. today, but they can’t enter after that.

FanDuel launched in 2008, while DraftKings has been around since 2012.

DraftKings, however, said it will keep doing business from NY residents until ordered to halt by a judge. But he said luck is also required, as with poker, and that as long as the games require a few amount of chance, they are effectively gambling. He cited a DraftKings investor presentation that called the company’s fantasy sports contests “betting” and compared them to online poker.

United Kingdom gambling regulators granted a gambling license to DraftKings in August, while FanDuel applied earlier this month for a license as a “gambling software” company.

In Boston on Monday, a Suffolk Superior Court judge granted DraftKings a temporary restraining order that required two of its payment processors to continue working with the company. The move was a legal threat that if you don’t change your business practices, more trouble will come. There are other places to play DFS, notably Yahoo, and DraftOps, which are both relatively new to the scene.

The rejection of the gambling label by the DFS sites is particularly hard to square with the overt strategy of recruiting gamblers. They also have recently prohibited employees from playing on rival sites. According to DraftKings data, 89.3 percent of players on the site netted a negative return on investment from 2013 to 2014.

- DraftKings embedded gambling keywords into the programming code for its website like “weekly fantasy basketball betting” and “weekly fantasy college football betting” to drive traffic to its website from people looking to gamble on search engines like Google.

- The sites harm the community by fostering gambling addiction.

NY has more daily fantasy sports players than any other USA state, according to Eilers Research, so being forced to shut down there could cripple the companies.

The shut down simply means that at this time, FanDuel is not accepting any paid entries into their contests.

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Daily fantasy sports companies seek ‘gambling’ approval abroad

BOSTON — Top daily fantasy sports companies are fiercely rejecting the idea that their rapidly growing industry should be considered gambling in the United States.

But FanDuel and DraftKings are OK with that label in the United Kingdom. They’re embracing it as a step toward global expansion.

U.K. gambling regulators granted a gambling license to DraftKings in August, while FanDuel applied earlier this month for a license as a “gambling software” company.

DraftKings, FanDuel file suit against New York AG

DraftKings, FanDuel each claimed in a lawsuit that N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is trying to “bully” the DFS companies by saying their operations constitute illegal gambling.

  • DOJ won’t speculate on legality of daily fantasy

    The Department of Justice, while concerned about online gambling and fantasy sports, is not ready to weigh in on the current controversy involving DraftKings and FanDuel.

  • Jeffrey Haas, chief international officer for DraftKings, maintains there’s no contradiction. DraftKings is simply approaching each jurisdiction case by case, he said.

    “Our product is a game of skill. In order to be successful, you need to apply your skill in order to have the best lineups to go into our contests to win,” Haas said. “Nevertheless, our games of skill are looked at differently by regulators in different jurisdictions around the world.”

    But with the gambling debate heating up at home, some in the fantasy sports industry say the international moves put the two companies in an increasingly untenable position.

    “It’s pretty naive to go get gambling licenses in the U.K. and expect people to believe you’re not gambling,” said Shergul Arshad, founder of Mondogoal, a U.K.-based daily fantasy sports startup focused on professional soccer that would likely compete with DraftKings and FanDuel.

    “You can’t come to a state that bans you and say it’s not gambling and then have a U.K. gaming license,” he said. “It’s hypocrisy.”

    Haas said DraftKings plans to offer its familiar range of NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and NHL contests in the U.K. but with a special emphasis on professional soccer, including the English Premier League, North America’s Major League Soccer and Europe’s Champions League.

    DraftKings and FanDuel say they support developing U.S. regulations for their industry, which grew out of traditional, season-long fantasy sports games played by millions of Americans. They just don’t want regulations as restrictive as those imposed on casino gambling.

    Many U.S. states use a chance versus skill argument to help define gambling. In daily fantasy sports, players compete for cash prizes online by assembling teams of individual athletes to rack up “fantasy” points based on how those athletes perform in real-world games.

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the latest to challenge daily fantasy, declaring the contests amount to illegal sports betting in his state. He ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to stop accepting in-state bets. DraftKings and FanDuel promptly asked the state Supreme Court to nullify the order and declare the games legal.

    The international push for daily fantasy sports has been in the cards long before the latest scrutiny in the United States.

    Haas said DraftKings will have all the required gambling protections called for in U.K. law, including age verification of gamblers and “self-exclusion” technology that allows those who are addicted to gambling to voluntarily block themselves from contests.

    “We’re on track,” said Haas, who is based in London. “We want to be the biggest and best daily fantasy sports operator in the world.”

    The expansion is a risk for the companies, which still aren’t profitable despite millions in investor funds.

    Unlike in the United States, where sports betting is legal only in a handful of states, daily fantasy sports will have to compete with a well-established, lucrative sports betting industry internationally, industry watchers note.

    And the furor at home is already forcing a financial retrenchment of sorts by the companies, which may siphon energy and resources from global expansion efforts, they say.

    FanDuel declined to discuss the company’s international plans, stressing its U.K. application is the first step in a lengthy review. But Haas argues the increased scrutiny at home makes international expansion all the more critical to DraftKings’ outlook.

    “In the U.K., we have an opportunity to work in a perfectly clear regulatory environment where we understand what the rules are, the tax rates are and the sustainability of the business will be,” he said. “And as we look to expand internationally, it’s an opportunity to expand the footprint of the business in a very different way.”

    Article source:

    DraftKings is using this new software to keep people from playing illegally

    DraftKings CEO Jason Robins speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York, September 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike SegarThomson ReutersDraftKings CEO Jason Robins during an interview with Reuters in New York.

    See Also

    DraftKings announced on Friday evening that it is partnering with an outside software company to prevent play in states where daily-fantasy-sports betting is banned.

    The site will be employing GeoComply’s new “Solus” geolocation service, which was designed specifically for the Daily Fantasy Sports industry and is already used by DraftDay, another DFS site.

    The announcement comes not long after The New York Times reported that users in all states where daily fantasy sports are “considered illegal” could access the site through a proxy server, which makes the player’s internet connection appear to originate from a different location.

    In its press release on the matter, DraftKings noted that Solus provides the “best available defense against proxies.”

    However, a source close to DraftKings told Business Insider that the decision to implement location-based restrictions was not the result of any specific criticism or reports.

    According to the source, the GeoComply software was activated in “recent days” and the “definitive” rollout of such a service was already in discussion at least a month ago.

    Right now, DraftKings does not allow users to register or play from Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, or Washington, where daily-fantasy-sports betting is generally thought to be illegal. In Nevada, the games are explicitly considered gambling and thus require a license to operate legally in the state.

    DraftKingsDraftKingsA screenshot from the DraftKings website.

    The source close to DraftKings could not elaborate on exactly where the geolocation software would target, only telling Business Insider that DraftKings complies with the laws of every state in which it operates.

    Earlier this month, New York’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a cease-and-desist order to DraftKings and competitor site FanDuel, instructing them to stop taking bets in the state, claiming that play constitutes gambling in New York.

    DraftKings and FanDuel are both fighting the attorney general’s order, but an attempt to land a temporary restraining order against the cease-and-desist was denied.

    People protest in front of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office following his decision to shut down fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings, in the Manhattan borough of New York November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo AllegriThomson ReutersPeople protest in front of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office following his decision to shut down fantasy-sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings, in the Manhattan borough of New York.

    The New York State Supreme Court will hold an emergency hearing regarding the sites’ legality on November 25.

    FanDuel has temporarily suspended play in New York until the legal issues are resolved, but DraftKings continues to operate in the state, citing the attorney general’s claim that he would not take action against the company before the hearing.

    Boston-based DraftKings has come under scrutiny from the Massachusetts attorney general, who has drafted regulations limiting monthly deposits, restricting marketing, and requiring disclaimers, as well as setting a minimum age of 21 for participation.

    DraftKings said in a statement that despite “some concerns with the draft regulations” that it hopes to see changed, a DraftKings spokesperson expressed the company’s intent to cooperate with the attorney general and to “immediately begin taking steps to prepare to implement the changes to our product that the Attorney General requires.”

    Article source:

    Mass. AG seeks state restrictions on fantasy sports betting

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, an employee in the software development department of DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, walks past screens displaying the company's online system stats in Boston.  (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, an employee in the software development department of DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, walks past screens displaying the company’s online system stats in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is implementing new regulations on the popular fantasy sports betting industry.

    By the winter, the Attorney General wants new regulations in effect that would regulate websites like DraftKings and FanDuel. They would ban players under 21, ban betting on college games, ban advertising for fantasy games at colleges and high schools, and not allow deposits of more than $1,000 a month.

    The regulations would also prevent fantasy sports employees from betting, along with athletes and agents from betting within their own sport.

    The attorney general also discovered that 90% of the prizes are won by less than 2% of all players. But does that make people less likely to play?

    Cody Porlier of Greenfield said, “It doesn’t really bother me whether I win or not. I just play and all my friends play, so it’s pretty fun.”

    Heath Chaffee of Easthampton said, “The amount of time and money that people put into this. It’s entertainment value, to a certain point, but the whole gambling issue comes to play, and personally I’m lucky to not suffer from that.”

    22News contacted both FanDuel and DraftKings; they both told us they support regulations, although DraftKings told us they do have some concerns.

    Article source:

    Massachusetts AG proposes tighter regs for fantasy sports

    • FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey testifies before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, in Boston. Daily fantasy sports companies like FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings would be allowed to continue operating in Massachusetts, but with age and advertising restrictions, disclosure requirements and other new rules proposed Thursday by the state's attorney general. Maura Healey announced what she called an aggressive, first-in-the-nation plan to regulate the websites after her office spent several weeks reviewing whether the contests were legal in the state. Photo: Steven Senne, AP / AP



    BOSTON (AP) — Daily fantasy sports companies like FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings would be allowed to continue operating in Massachusetts, but with age and advertising restrictions, disclosure requirements and other new rules proposed Thursday by the state’s attorney general.

    Maura Healey announced what she called an aggressive, first-in-the-nation plan to regulate the websites after her office spent several weeks reviewing whether the contests were legal in the state.

    “This is an industry that cries out for transparency and robust consumer protection,” she said. “These are games you carry around with you in your pocket and lose money at the touch of a button.”

    Among the regulations would be a ban on anyone under 21 participating and a ban on advertising or promotion of the contests at schools or college campuses. Professional athletes and others connected to pro sports would also be banned from entering contests in their particular sport.

    Most players would be limited to depositing $1,000 per month on games, and the companies would be required to identify “highly-experienced” players on all contest platforms and offer “beginner” games that would be off limits to the more experienced players.

    Contests involving college sports would also be banned in Massachusetts, and daily fantasy sports would be prohibited from extending credit to players.

    In separate statements, FanDuel and DraftKings offered qualified support for Healey’s proposals, with FanDuel saying they made “a tremendous amount of sense,” and DraftKings calling them a “thoughtful and comprehensive approach” to fantasy sports.

    DraftKings, without specifying, expressed some concerns with Healey’s plan, and both companies said they would offer more feedback on it in the coming weeks. Both also indicated a willingness to work with other attorneys general, regulators and lawmakers to develop regulations around the country.

    Several states have been scrutinizing daily fantasy sports recently, considering whether the games should be treated like other forms of gambling. The sites drew attention earlier this year with an ad blitz ahead of the NFL season — football is by far the most popular fantasy sport — and scandal after a DraftKings employee won $350,000 in a FanDuel contest. The companies say there was no wrongdoing, but lawmakers on several levels began questioning whether the games are or should be legal.

    Nevada restricted daily fantasy sports there to those with gambling licenses, while New York’s attorney general is challenging DraftKings and FanDuel there by calling the offerings illegal games of chance. DraftKings and FanDuel disagree and are arguing in the state’s Supreme Court to stay open in one of their biggest customer bases.

    Supporters of fantasy sports have long argued that a provision in a 2006 federal law allows them to operate freely in 45 states that don’t have specific prohibitions on the contests.

    Healey, a Democrat, has taken a more measured approach than her counterpart in New York, despite her past opposition to gambling. She supported an unsuccessful effort last year to repeal a state law that allows casino gambling.

    While she considers fantasy sports a form of gambling, the attorney general has repeatedly said that it is not necessarily a form of illegal gambling.

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has said he believes fantasy sports is a game of skill, and legal under state law.

    The rules proposed by Healey would not take effect immediately — they require a two-month comment period and a hearing before they become official. But Healey said she hoped the companies would move to immediately adopt the regulations, which do not require legislative approval.

    Healey said she wants to level the playing field for average fans.

    “There is a very small subset of professional players who use sophisticated software and algorithms and through their experience, through their expertise, are in fact able to win the vast majority of these contests,” said Healey, who said she has not tried the games herself.

    FanDuel and DraftKings say that the ability for professionals to win consistently shows daily fantasy is a game of skill.

    Healey, a one-time Harvard University basketball star, said she called for the ban on contests involving college sports because she did not believe that contests should be based on games involving amateur student athletes.



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    Let’s call daily fantasy sports what it is — gambling – Las Vegas Review

    The debate that DraftKings and FanDuel never wanted is taking place.

    At this juncture, the winning argument is that daily fantasy sports is gambling and not a game of skill.

    Nevada gaming regulators, based on an attorney general’s opinion, said in October daily fantasy was sports wagering under the state’s gambling laws. New York’s attorney general reached that conclusion last week. At least a dozen other states appear ready to weigh in with similar sentiments.

    Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel, the two largest daily fantasy companies — valued recently at more than $1 billion each — are bleeding investors and watching revenue dry up faster than the San Diego Chargers’ playoff chances.

    “These past six to eight weeks have been tumultuous for anyone involved in the daily fantasy sports industry,” said Eilers Research gaming analyst Adam Krejcik, admitting that an update he produced on the business last week “may be outdated in a matter of days.”

    New York constitutes nearly 13 percent of all daily fantasy sports users, according to Krejcik.

    That’s the primary reason DraftKings and FanDuel wanted a New York judge to stop Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from shutting them down. The sites didn’t get a temporary restraining order, but will have a full hearing next week.

    If DraftKings and FanDuel lose New York, it could be game over.

    “We believe the attorney general’s view of this issue is based on an incomplete understanding of the facts about how our business operates and a fundamental misinterpretation and misapplication of the law,” a DraftKings spokesman said in a statement.

    Previous actions by DraftKings and FanDuel, however, are haunting the companies.

    In September, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told a Global Gaming Expo audience in Las Vegas the activity was a game of skill, similar to chess or like playing the stock market. It takes skill to make money, he said.

    Poker is often described as a game of skill. Blackjack requires some skill-based elements. The outcomes, however, are ultimately determined by the luck of the draw.

    The same is true with daily fantasy sports. You can research a quality NFL lineup, but you can’t account for Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy blowing out his hamstring on the Packers’ opening drive.

    The sites have all but admitted they’re gambling. In August, United Kingdom gaming regulators licensed DraftKings. FanDuel recently applied in the United Kingdom for a license as a “gambling software” company.

    The fantasy sports industry claims to be exempt from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which outlawed payment processing for online gaming. But that notion is unraveling. In October, the former Iowa congressman who drafted the legislation told the Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg it was “sheer chutzpah for a fantasy sports company to cite the law as a legal basis for existing.”

    Daily fantasy sports even lost Joe Namath. The Hall of Fame quarterback, interviewed on CNBC in October, said he didn’t agree with the game of skill argument. “Do they have to pay something to play?” Namath asked. “And do they win something? It’s gambling.”

    So here’s an idea. Let’s call daily fantasy sports what it is — gambling — and move forward. Nevada never said the activity was illegal, just that operators needed to be licensed.

    The problem is regulation. DraftKings and FanDuel haven’t filed for gaming licenses in Nevada. Then again, the sites would only be able to attract players located in the lightly populated Silver State. To go across state lines requires a change in federal law.

    The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) limits sports wagering to four states, including Nevada. New Jersey wants regulated sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and the state’s racetracks. The matter is in front of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Ultimately, the fate of PASPA could be decided the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association is seeking “a rational alternative” to the nation’s sports wagering laws.

    PASPA isn’t working. The AGA estimates Americans wager close to $140 billion on sports with illegal bookies and unregulated off-shore betting websites. The AGA will spend 2016 exploring regulation and consumer protection ideas, but it won’t call for PASPA’s repeal, at least until after Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., retires at end the next year. The Senate minority leader is a proponent of PASPA and out of respect for Reid, gaming will avoid PASPA.

    Daily fantasy sports will be included in the study. The two industries could work together on a solution, as long as the daily fantasy sports folks admit the activity is gambling.

    Howard Stutz’s Inside Gaming column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at or 702-477-3871. Find on Twitter: @howardstutz

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