Skip to main content

Gambling is Bad

There's been quite the brouhaha in Daily Fantasy Sports this past week. You see, some employees of the major DFS sites can see large scale big data about what lineups are taken for a given week, and some was "inadvertently published". Employees can not play on a site they work at, of course, but at the present time that doesn't stop them from playing at others. There's no hard evidence anything wrong has been done with this "data leak" (not to mention seeing lineup percentages are not much different than projected) but the optics are bad.

When a site, or a gambling game gets big in the new world, it's PR that they have to worry about. The purse strings for everything related to most things are controlled by politicians, and politicians love to regulate. It's even worse for gambling because gambling - something you and I happily do with our after tax dollars - is constantly attacked from the left and the right. They don't agree on many things, but they - from the nanny staters, to the puritans -  plenty agree gambling is bad.

Draft Kings and FanDuel (who released a joint statement today) have been rolling, and when you're rolling, you bring this attention to yourself. This is not at all unlike folks wondering if a bookmaker in England is piggybacking a winners bets, a betfair employee has built a bot mimicking a winning players bot, if a poker site's CTO's dog groomer can see hole cards, or an ADW or offshore horse racing site's employee is hammering someone's choices in the pools. This is old hat. In gambling, common conceptions like this have been discussed, and been worked on, for generations.

But, in America, with tens of millions of DFS TV spend, billboards everywhere, and everyone talking about it, it's not old hat.

Me, being a gambler, this is just a whole lot of nothing. I don't worry about someone violating a policy and stealing my bet on the third at Keeneland. I trust CDI and Twinspires and whomever else to employ ethics regarding this, because if they don't, or didn't, their businesses would have failed already. I know that's old school economics, and in today's right left world that doesn't garner much support, but it's worked throughout business history in gambling, and will likely work for FanDuel and Draftkings. The Comcast's and NBC's of the world who hold stake in these companies will do what needs to be done, just like dozens of others before them or they won't have a business. And with the Times and Adelson on their tails, they'll probably do it with a little more alacrity.

Comments