You can’t switch on an NFL game on Sundays without watching a blitz of commercials promoting either FanDuel or DraftKings. According to iSpot.tv, the two new fantasy sports companies shelled out more than $25 million combined on advertising and raked in over $57 million in revenue in the first week of the football season, double the amount bet in Las Vegas sports books during the same period. In 2015 alone, FanDuel projects it will pay out more than $2 billion in prize money, a spokesperson for the site told the Observer.
Due to a recent data breach at DraftKings, along with the rapid growth, the industry has been attracting a heightened level of scrutiny from regulators and law enforcement. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently launched an investigation into insider trading accusations involving DraftKings and FanDuel, and New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone Jr. has been agitating for Congressional hearings. ESPN also scaled back DraftKings’ advertising on the network. But with so much money involved, don’t expect this gambling juggernaut to disappear.
The booming fantasy gambling industry can thank none other than the Christian right for its existence. Legislators wrote a loophole into a 2006 anti-gambling law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which was subsequently inserted into an uncontroversial port security bill without a public vote or the knowledge of most members of Congress. The bill then passed both chambers with near unanimous support in one of the last votes Congress took before the 2006 election.Read More