Is The NFL Now Distancing Itself from Daily Fantasy Sports; and if so, Why Now…?

Friday, November 13th, 2015 – Ian J. Imrich, Esq. 

The fantasy sports gaming business in the US is almost entirely unregulated. That’s just the way the NFL has always wanted it — until now.

After NFL’s lobbying extensively in late 2006 to get a “carve-out” from the hastily passed Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) — a carve out that the US Department of Justice never supported (and if reports coming out are true) —  the NFL is now quickly attempting to distance itself from the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry.  See, e.g., NFL is reviewing the entire fantasy sports situation, reports the New York Post.

Why now? Well, here are just a few possible reasons that might help to explain the NFL’s Fall of 2015 back-tracking:

-Legal challenges to the nationwide sports betting ban in Federal Courts are pending and the NFL remains vehemently opposed to any sort of legalized sports wagering (while the NBA by contrast favors regulated sports betting);

-Two major NFL owners could be forced to sell their huge equity stakes within the DFS industry;

-NFL policy strictly prohibits NFL employees or team owners from participating in or facilitating any form of gambling  — yet the same prohibitions do not apply to unregulated DFS skill gaming;

Meanwhile, what have Bob Kraft, Jerry Jones, and one major DFS site operator said about these reports?  So far, The Cowboys, Patriots and DraftKings have declined comment.  Will await to see how long their silence is deafening…

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