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The DFS & Racing Brouhaha's & My Pal Joe Drape

It's been a fun time to be a fan of the machinations of old versus new, new versus old, horse racing and the new kid on the block, Daily Fantasy Sports.

Seriously, when we get twitter memes from tweets like these about Joe Drape, it's a pretty exciting time.

What would we talk about without Joe around? We'd probably just get mad at Richard Dutrow, and he hasn't been around since Nicolas Cage's last good role.

This DFS "scandal" which involved an employee posting ownership values too early on the interweb (in this case twitter), has Joe fired up. Maybe there is more to this story, who knows, but he's fired up. However, getting all excited about this doesn't really fit when it comes to horse racing land, and consistency.

Back in the early 2000's, racing had the "Fix Six" scandal. This involved changing tickets after the races had been run - pure fraud - to take money from others in a game. This DFS thing, at the present time, is nothing compared to it. In fact, we do not even know if the employee in question had what percentage was owned by who before 1PM when he could use it for an ROI edge (Draftkings is reporting he had the data after 1PM). Apples to antelopes.

Regardless, what happened after the "Fix Six" scandal is a lesson that should not be lost. There was pure fraud and an absolute hole in the system. Was there a call for new rules and regs and third party oversight, for congress to make new rules on betting? No, the industry, led by the NTRA and Alex Waldrop, fixed it themselves. Racing had good people in charge of one slice of it (in this case, Amtote and the betting systems), with the power to get things done, just like any other regular business who has a similar internal problem. There have been no problems since.

Unlike Joe (I really do like Joe, he is a good writer and a pleasure to converse with), unless we get evidence of massive fraud, I think the Feds need nothing to do with this DFS internal data issue as it stands. Like racing, they can fix it themselves. I think this view is consistent.

When it comes to third parties in racing in the drug and horse safety area, I am for it (like Joe), and some might think that inconsistent. I don't believe it is. Regulation or third party oversight is needed in industries that have had much time to fix something, but the tools and systems are not in place to get the job done. Racing's myriad horsemen group fiefdoms are not overly worried about consumer protections, so they ceded power to someone who is - in the fix six case the NTRA - and when they did, the alphabet was free to succeed. When it comes to drugs, rules, and all the rest, they're a complete and utter mess. The inmates, in my opinion, do need a warden; the only way they've proven they will cede power is if it's forced.

Optics rule the day in any sport, or game. I get that the media is agenda driven, and that anything disruptive is scary to an old guard, and an old guard has power and a will to protect a slice. Sometimes it's fair, sometimes it isn't. But, with something like a fix six scandal, a private market, and private business can usually clean up its own issues; the incentive is obvious - the profit motive. As far as racing goes, it has been proven for years that it can't take care of its drug and penalties and horse safety issues. Others - I am not sure how, or who - need to be in charge. At this point I don't think there is anyway around that.



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