Daily Fantasy Sports Tries to Distance Contests From Poker and Gambling

on October 27, 2015

WSOP DraftKings satellite

The World Series of Poker and DraftKings have discontinued their marketing pact as daily fantasy sports dissociates its market with gambling enterprises. (Image: onlinegambling.com)

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators would like you to know that their contests require skill unlike more traditional games found on casino floors.

Of course, not everyone agrees with that interpretation.

That’s why DraftKings is hastily folding on its sponsoring of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

The November Nine reconvenes in just two weeks, the live broadcast on ESPN expected to attract both the gambling community and casual sports viewer.

The likeness of DraftKings has been heavily seen over the last two years at the WSOP, the company logo littered around the Rio and pasted on poker tables.

But come November that will no longer be the case, DraftKings asking the WSOP to terminate all sponsorship materials and void the partnership to which the Caesars-own tournament complied.

Gambling on Skill

DraftKings and competitor FanDuel are upping their response to casual observers questioning the legality of the weekly contests. Federal and state prosecutors, as well as gaming regulators, are looking into how the games operate and if the outcomes are truly based upon a player’s skill.

“Some lawmakers are questioning our right to exist. Knowingly or not, many have misrepresented who we are and what we do,” FanDuel now says on its website.

FanDuel is calling on its players to sign an online petition that states, “There are many problems facing our nation, but passionate sports fans that want to connect with our favorite players and teams is not one of them. Fantasy sports is fundamentally a test of knowledge.”

McGill University Psychiatry Professor Jeffrey Derevensky disagrees. Derevensky, who treats problem gamblers suffering from addiction, told the New York Times that “to bet on something with the potential to win more money or lose money is gambling.”

Derevensky referenced a sports announcer who dropped $100,000 after losing 12 of 13 NFL games he bet on in one week alone. “He came to me and said … ‘How could I lose … when I know all the statistics?'”

Not Fit for DraftKings

During its two-year sponsorship, DraftKings hosted satellite qualifiers into the World Series of Poker, the ultimate prize being a seat in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event along with a six-night stay in Las Vegas with accommodations and airfare included.

Max Steinberg was the 2015 DraftKings winner, and he took full advantage of his $27 daily fantasy ante.

Not only did he enter the WSOP Main Event free of charge, Steinberg performed exceptionally well and is one of the nine finalists, already guaranteed of winning at least $1 million.

Turning $27 into $1 million equates to a 37,036 percent return on investment.

DraftKings had planned to once again host satellites for the 2016 WSOP, and as of now that section of the website is still live even as the DFS company is taking down its signage at the Rio.

Daily fantasy has largely enjoyed a fruitful relationship with poker and Internet poker as the new fantasy format gained traction over the last few years. The decision to flee the hand that largely helped feed the daily fantasy market was likely a difficult choice.