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Daily fantasy sports leagues FanDuel and DraftKings have had a rough last few months. The companies been raked over the coals, as numerous states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois, have taken them to task as they try to regulate their industry, while others, most notably New York, have tried to ban them outright.
The two companies were dealt another blow on Thursday, as they both revealed that they were going to be dropping betting on college sports in all US states as soon as the current NCAA March Madness tournament ends on April 4th.
In a blog post, FanDuel said that the decision was part of "a new agreement with the NCAA," which came after months of talks with the organization, "their member institutions, and various state legislators."
"It is clear that this is an issue that matters to a variety of constituencies and we feel that the best path forward is to suspend offering these contests pending resolution on the issue within state legislatures," the company said.
The real winner here is the NCAA, which has been a vocal opponent of daily fantasy sports for a long time. In a speech this past September, for example, NCAA vice president Oliver Luck told athletes that if they participated in daily fantasy leagues they would be violating NCAA rules, and could be ruled ineligible to play as a result.
The NCAA’s major football conferences even went so far as to send letters to DraftKings and FanDuel, asking them both to stop offering college sports leagues. Now the organization finally got what it was asking for.
"We appreciate and commend Draft Kings and Fan Duel's action to stop offering contests involving college, high school and youth sports," Mark Emmert, NCAA president, said in a statement provided to VatorNews.
"This action culminates months of hard work between all parties to reach a place that is good for amateur sports and most importantly, the young people who participate. We will work diligently with our member schools over the coming year to ensure such amateur sports 'carve outs' are included in pending states' legislation."
This news comes at an interesting time for daily fantasy sports, as more than half the states are currently considering some type of regulations on the industry. Perhaps by giving in to the NCAA, DraftKings and FanDuel, both of whom praised state legislators for their efforts, are attempting to curry some favor when those rules are eventually passed.
"We continue to see tremendous support for fantasy sports in legislatures across the country, with nearly 30 states advancing thoughtful and appropriate regulations for fantasy play," DraftKings said in a statement provided to ESPN.
"[W]e will work closely with the NCAA and lawmakers on a carve-out for collegiate sports in any proposed regulatory framework moving forward. DraftKings is committed to ensuring that fantasy sports players are able to continue to play these skill-based contests that bring them closer to the sports that they love."
"More than 20 states are advancing similar legislation to protect fantasy play. The future of fantasy sports will be defined in those state governments, where leaders are hearing a resounding call from their constituents who want to continue to play the games they love," said FanDuel. "The action we are seeing in states across the country makes it clear: the future is bright for the millions and millions of people who play fantasy sports."
Nigel Eccles, CEO and Co-founder of FanDuel, will be sitting down with Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital at Vator Splash Spring in May, and I'm sure this will make for an interesting topic for them to talk about.
VatorNews reached out to DraftKings for additional comment.
(Image source: huffingtonpost.com)
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Hubdub Ltd is a VC funded start-up based in Edinburgh and San Francisco that aims to be the world’s largest developer of premium social games for sports fans. Its main product, FanDuel, transforms traditional fantasy sports ($1bn, 30m people market) into an instant gratification daily game where users win cash prizes every day. It is played on FanDuel.com, via white label partners such as Philly.com, and in future on Facebook and mobile.