First, Congress started snooping around. On Thursday in Manhattan, a lawsuit was filed against them. On Friday, they counted their profits from the millions of dollars that exchanged hands following the clash between Houston and Indianapolis.
'They' are DraftKings and FanDuel, websites focused on Fantasy Football. Users create an account, deposit money, then play against others in tournaments. Both companies claim that what separates their business from gambling is that it is based on the participants' ability to select the correct line-up -- not chance or luck.
This past week has brought them into focus across a wide array of platforms -- even more so than their ridiculous amount of advertising anytime an NFL game is on. This publicity is stemming from a DraftKings employee admitting to releasing information based on line-up metrics and cashing in to the tune of $350,000. Backlash came from social media, and scrutiny abounded upon the revelation that employees could play on their competitor's website with inside information.
... Which all brings us back to Congress. They have both websites in their crosshairs. In response to a question on Tuesday about whether Congress should examine their legality, Senator Harry Reid said:
We learned yesterday that there’s absolutely scandalous conduct taking place with those programs fantasy sports. So the answer is yes, and I think it should also be a warning shot to everybody that online gaming is a real scary thing and we’d better look at all of it.
Representative Frank Pallone said in a statement on Tuesday:
Daily fantasy sports is functioning in a Wild West void within the legal structure. With little legal oversight and deep investments into these sites by the same professional sports leagues that oppose traditional sports wagering, these issues are ripe for Congressional review.
To make matters even more pressing to the fantasy giants, Adam Johnson of Kentucky filed his lawsuit in Manhattan, citing the revelation of analytical information being passed back and forth between the two websites.
While both of these happenings are quite damaging, both companies are still collecting their profits, and neither parties legal teams are saying anything concerning the litigation.
This may be a bump in road, or it could alter the landscape significantly -- just like happened to online poker games. For now, it is game on; care to place a friendly wager?