The recent spat of headlines and criticism launched against daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and Fan Duel highlights quite a few issues with the platform. Not only are both being investigated for a funky insider information deal, but ESPN is pulling sponsored segments, there’s a pending lawsuit with the NFLPA, and a ban in Nevada. All revolving around the idea that both are actually just a legal form of gambling, something that DraftKings posits is not the case on their official site:
The legality of daily fantasy sports is the same as that of season long fantasy sports. Federal Law and 45 of the 50 US States allow skill based gaming.
Daily fantasy sports is a skill game and is not considered gambling.
One person who did not agree with that assertion, way back in the middle of summer, was Bill Burr on his Monday Morning Podcast. Like many podcasters, DraftKings was a sponsor for the show and Burr would read the promos for the company. Here’s an example:
Back when the spotlight started to be pointed in daily fantasy’s direction, Reddit highlighted Burr’s dealings with DraftKings and how it all came to an end — something I wasn’t aware of at the time. If the promo above doesn’t give it away, imagine the same type of discussion happening week after week. It forced DraftKings to send out a letter to Burr, which he addressed on his show:
Priceless. Looking at reactions around the Internet, this is the moment where DraftKings parted ways with Burr. And according to Philly.com it just proves how much DraftKings and other daily fantasy sites protect the idea that their business is based on skill:
“Any of the operators in daily fantasy, I understand their platform, where they’re coming from,” Fuhrman said. “But in my opinion, it is 100 percent gambling. Does that mean I’m opposed to it? Absolutely not. But to say if someone is risking money to try and make money back, I don’t know how anybody can look you in the eye and say it’s not gambling.
“And I understand, by the letters of the law, that’s not defined the same way as sports gambling, because they deem it a game of skill more so than a game of chance, but to take that stance and truly believe it, I think, is a little bit of a leap of faith.”
You can’t deny that Burr and other critics are in the right here, but few are as funny as Burr is about it. And he’s still at it too. He appeared on the Flagrant Foul podcast on October 17th and he still holds the same stance on DraftKings, which you can hear below at the 29:36 mark. And the best part, he has no ill will towards Draftkings. He just wishes they’d stop treating people like children, especially since it is so obvious where the money sits.
If anything, it’s just funny to look back now that DraftKings and Fan Duel are such a major part of each week’s sports broadcasts. They’ve spent a ton in advertising and they’ve certainly outgrown the podcast market, but they can’t escape the idea that all they’re doing is legal gambling. And there’s really nothing wrong with that, if they’d admit it.