NBA commissioner Adam Silver became the first head of a major sport to comment extensively on the recent daily fantasy sports controversy when he called for regulation of the online games on Wednesday.
Silver told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that though the ongoing investigations into the legality of daily fantasy sports makes him “nervous,” the NBA will continue to partner with FanDuel.
"There should be a regulatory framework,” Silver said. “There should be increased transparency for consumers. I think it would ultimately aid the industry. In fact, I think we’re seeing the marketplace impacted, because there’s not a clear regulatory framework right now.
“[The NBA is] not considering withdrawing or backing off our relationship with the industry. It’s something that we’re monitoring very closely. And it’s something that we’re deeply engaged in on the broader subject of daily fantasy-slash-sports betting.”
Increased attention has been placed on the operation of daily fantasy sites after The New York Times reported that DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell admitted to leaking information about the site’s fantasy lineups during the NFL’s Week 3. The data Haskell released is made public after lineups have been finalized, but can give players an advantage if obtained ahead of time. That week, Haskell won $350,000 on rival site FanDuel from a $25 entry.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and U.S. Justice Department had opened an investigation into daily fantasy sites. The New York attorney general has also opened an inquiry into the matter, and several lawsuits have been filed against the companies.
In response to Silver’s comments, FanDuel issued the following statement:
“FanDuel and our partners believe some regulation may be warranted and want to work with lawmakers to ensure fans continue to have access to all the fantasy games they love.”
DraftKings also issued a statement, though it did not comment directly on Silver’s position.
“We strongly believe the games on our site — and daily fantasy sports in general — are legal. We are seeing a number of state regulators and other authorities taking a reasoned and measured approach to the daily fantasy sports business and hope that trend continues along with due consideration for the interests of sports fans across the country who love to play these games.”
Silver previously called for regulation of legal sports betting in a New York Times editorial last year.
- Erin Flynn