Seth Palansky, the World Series of Poker’s editor-in-chief, believes daily fantasy sports (DFS) poses a more substantial and serious threat to the integrity of professional sports leagues and organizations than that of traditional sports betting.
Whereas Las Vegas bookmakers offer lines and spreads on the outcomes of games, DFS is built around individual players, something Palansky believes creates a more opportune configuration for athletes to be enticed into rogue activities.
Palansky posted his take on DFS on an ESPN.com article covering the recent release of previously sealed 2012 testimony from Roger Goodell where the NFL commissioner said his league doesn’t classify fantasy sports as gambling.
“DFS is much more a threat to the integrity of the game than sports betting,” Palansky commented. “Did Frank Gore (running back for the Indianapolis Colts) fumble on the one-yard line without being touched Monday Night or did he do it because he had 500 lineups submitted to FanDuel with the Jets defense in his lineup?”
NFL Favors DFS
The 2012 deposition was in relation to New Jersey trying to legalize sports betting. Goodell stressed that his league’s involvement with gambling would be detrimental to its overall brand, but that daily fantasy games does not hamper its perception.
“Fantasy football’s not based on the outcome of a game. It’s based on the performance of individuals that they select,” Goodell attested.
Goodell’s own comments could support Palansky’s claims that DFS is more dangerous than sports betting.
Though it’s unlikely the player he cited, Frank Gore, an 11-year veteran who recently signed a $12 million contract is running 500 DFS lineups and intentionally fumbled to favor his rosters, lesser players could theoretically be lured.
Considering 80 percent of retired NFL athletes go broke within the first three years according to a study by Sports Illustrated, those approaching the end of their 3.3 average career length might be looking for one more payout.
Of course, Palansky’s claims are speculative, but seem to be armed with some elements of merit.
“The NFL has smart people,” Palansky concluded. “Figure out the best way to both protect integrity of game and the entertainment interests of its fan base.”
WSOP executive Seth Palansky has several reasons for voicing his opinion on sports betting and DFS.
Prior to joining Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Palansky actually worked for the NFL for many years including a five-year term as the league’s communications director.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, is the fact that being part of the Caesars brand, a conglomerate that owns several sportsbooks in Vegas, the WSOP editor is spreading awareness that his organization feels his previous employer shouldn’t be advocating for DFS.
Palansky directly points to the DFS loophole through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, a law that was created long before the emergence of DFS
The verdict is still out on whether DFS is gambling or skill, but many with interests in the casino industry seem to believe that if sports betting is deemed illegal by the Big Four (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) and the NCAA, so should daily fantasy contests.