Yesterday, I talked about the daily fantasy sports websites and their advertising presence on NFL telecasts. I mentioned that these sites had come under some criticism/scrutiny recently. Last week, the Nevada State Gaming Control Board ruled that daily fantasy sports is a form of gambling and therefore those websites will need to have a state- issued license to operate in Nevada. Here is a statement from the Chairman of that entity:
“We are saying that daily fantasy sports are a gambling game under the statutory definition. We’re also saying that these are sports pools, which is when someone is in the business of accepting wagers on sporting events through any system or method of wagering. We have found that it is a wager, and obviously, it’s on a sporting event, and DFS [Daily Fantasy Sports] companies are in the business of accepting those wagers.”
As you might expect, the folks who run the websites see this matter in a completely different light. Consider this statement from FanDuel:
“[FanDuel] is terribly disappointed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has decided that only incumbent Nevada casinos may offer fantasy sports. This decision stymies innovation and ignores the fact that fantasy sports is a skill-based entertainment product loved and played by millions of sports fans. This decision deprives these fans of a product that has been embraced broadly by the sports community, including professional sports teams, leagues and media partners.”
Please note that this response hits at “plus-points” like “innovation” and “fun for millions of fans” while ignoring the fundamental issue. It is a form of gambling and that means it needs to be regulated. Note also, FanDuel calls this a form of “skill-based entertainment”.
Draft Kings has a PR/Communications Department too and issued this statement:
“We understand that the gaming industry is important to Nevada, and, for that reason, they are taking this exclusionary approach against the increasingly popular fantasy sports industry. We strongly disagree with this decision and will work diligently to ensure Nevadans have the right to participate in what we strongly believe is legal entertainment that millions of Americans enjoy.”
Once again the statement points to popular ideas that most will agree with – level playing field and opportunities for all – but seems not to address at all the Gaming Control Board’s assertion that these sites are running a gambling operation.
This entire situation stems from the actions of the US Congress and the US Department of Justice with regard to gambling using the Internet as the vehicle for the game(s). It is OK to use the Internet for daily fantasy sports wagering and wagering on horse races but not for wagering on the outcome of individual games or not to play poker for real money. It seems to me that if one is opposed to gambling, one should oppose all forms of Internet gambling; but of course, nothing is ever so simple or so definitive when it comes to Congressional actions.
Adding to the murkiness here is the fact that several players on daily fantasy websites have filed suit against the sites saying that the games are rigged because of alleged actions of insiders who know the betting patterns. Of course, the plaintiffs allege that they would never have played in the first place had they only known… Who knows? My strong suspicion is that no one who won money from the web sites is a plaintiff in such a lawsuit…
Another sports-related story has gotten a lot of coverage in the past week or so is the Lamar Odom health matter. Odom went to a legal brothel in Nevada – the Bunny Ranch – and reportedly binged on “herbal Viagra”, alcohol and possibly cocaine for hours on end. He was found in an unconscious and unresponsive state and rushed by emergency vehicle to a hospital in Las Vegas. He spent a few days in a comatose state fighting for his life; he is reported to be doing better and communicating with visitors as of the last report. My first reaction was to ignore the obvious opportunity here to make any snarky remarks about someone checking into a brothel and binging on “herbal Viagra” – sold under the trade name “Reload” no less. However, the massive reporting on this story requires me to ask:
Why is this establishment always called a brothel and never a whorehouse?
Do they offer soup or broth for sale there?
What they do offer for sale there are …
Then yesterday, I saw a report that said someone got into Lamar Odom’s room while he was unconscious and stole his belongings. The report said he had a bodyguard with him at the building – not in his room obviously – and the bodyguard is mystified as to how this might have happened. Let me see…
You are rather easily recognized and known as someone who has money and material possessions.
You go to a “house of ill repute” which just might attract a clientele of under-developed consciences.
Then you pass out in a room for a few hours and wonder how it might come to pass that some of your “stuff” has disappeared.
I do not think we need to resurrect Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of the motive and the opportunity for skullduggery here…
Finally, here is an item from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald from about a month ago:
“Shannon Briggs fought Mike Marrone at the Hard Rock near Hollywood on Saturday with the crowd advertised to include Evander Holyfield, Vladimir Klistchko and Lennox Lewis. It is seldom a good thing when the people sitting ringside are more interesting than the people in the ring.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………