Thursday, October 29, 2015

Defending DraftKings

The two big one day fantasy sports outlets, DraftKings and FanDuel,* have been taking a lot of heat lately for everything from incessant carnival barking to Gordon Gekko level insider trading. Well we here at the Fantasy Golf Report believe that there are two sides to every story and, with our joint background in complex litigation** and fantasy sports nerdophilia, we can't think of anyone more qualified to take-up the cause of these two beleaguered organizations whose only crime seems to be providing fantasy sports fans with a better way of life. Let the whining begin.

They Advertise Way Too Much


We can dispense with this one by asking the obvious question, "can you have too much advertising when you're communicating such a valuable public service?" I don't hear anyone complaining about the endless ads on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC enticing the elderly to buy gold.*** Or selling them on the benefits of reverse mortgages to take advantage of the equity from what is probably the only thing of value they still own after the 2008 meltdown forced them back into the role of Chick-fil-a table wiper. These companies are just trying to help people and it's no different for DraftKings and FanDuel which also offer financial security only through a giant million dollar check presented to you as confetti rains from the ceiling at your local Buffalo Wild Wings.

"What is she doing back there?
I never know what she's doing."
You see, we're not selling pipe dreams here people. According to one of their radio ads, winning at fantasy football is the key that will release you from your prison cubicle. Forget that many a successful career started in a cubicle and were inspired by the desire to graduate from it. That's for suckers who want to work. DraftKings and FanDuel are offering you a very real shortcut to financial freedom and it is their right, nay, their duty to remind you of that every five minutes with actors who have been carefully chosen to look like 32 year old men still living in their parents' basements? MOM! THE MEATLOAF! FUCK!!!

It's Really Just Illegal Gambling

No it's not. The definition of "gambling" is "playing games of chance for money." There are two types of daily fantasy sports participants: (1) Computer geniuses who enter hundreds of teams every day using sophisticated programs that virtually guarantee a return of roughly 8% over time. For them, this is not a game of chance. It's a fairly risk free investment strategy; and (2) Regular guys at Saturday cookouts with Baby Bjorns strapped to them like straitjackets playing on rumors and hunches. These guys have no chance. Either way, "chance" is not a factor so it's not gambling. What else ya got?   

Insider Trading

In case you hadn't heard, an employee of DraftKings recently won $350,000 on FanDuel and he allegedly obtained competitively advantageous information that was only available to him through his employment. Obviously we need to go back to the dictionary on this one for a basic definition of "insider trading" which is "the trading of a company's stocks or other securities by individuals with access to confidential or non-public information about the company." Notice that the definition doesn't say anything about using confidential or non-public information about the individual's company to trade the stocks or other securities of someone else's company. This is an important distinction because it turns what the sharp young minds at DraftKings and FanDuel are doing from "insider trading" to "outsider trading" which isn't even a thing.

"Now are these really the questions I
was called here to answer? Gambling
and insider trading? Please tell me
you've got something more."****
More importantly, however, is the fact that insider trading is only illegal under certain circumstances because trading stocks is regulated. DraftKings and FanDuel are not regulated so even if DraftKings' employees play their own games with full knowledge of every player picked by their customers while on a conference call with FanDuel's employees laughing about how not illegal this all is, it still wouldn't be illegal. It might destroy their credibility to the point where people would stop pl. . . (damn, almost got that one out with a straight face) but illegal? No more illegal than the Russian soldier with the machine gun slung over his shoulder cleaning out your wallet while he studies your Passport.

The Games are Rigged

Now just hold on. "Rigged" is a very strong word that implies an unfair advantage has been built into the games like loaded dice or a marked deck that gives the rigger a better chance of winning. That is not the case here. Let's take a one day fantasy football game for example. Everyone who plays gets to select from the same pool of players with the same salary cap numbers and the results are based on the stats from a professional sports league whose owners have a financial stake in the companies running the games. Tell me what's fishy about that because I'm not seeing it. Just because the aforementioned computer geniuses have software that determines hundreds of lineup combinations with a greater chance of winning that can be modified up until the games start to account for injuries and other changed circumstances doesn't mean the games are rigged. It just means your chances of winning are about the same as if the games were rigged because you might as well be playing No Limit Hold 'Em against the sharks from Rounders. That's a "you" problem my friend.   

Conclusion

To paraphrase Chris Christie channeling his inner Allen Iverson at last night's debate, "we're talking about fantasy football?!? Don't we have more important things to worry about than an unregulated multi-billion dollar industry creating a whole new generation of gambling addicts?" It's a free country. If you don't like it, move to Denmark with Bernie Sanders. In the meantime, load-up a roster for this week's games and be sure to use the promo code "CHUMP" to get $200 in bonus cash added to the money you won't win.

Footnotes

* This could just as easily been called Defending FanDuel but that didn't have quite the sweet alliterative ring to it.

** One of our writers may have once negotiated a $2,500 settlement for one of his clients and then sent said client a bill for $11,000 but that's just hearsay. (Look for next week's feature . . . Litigation: Still the Most Cost Effective Way to Settle Your Petty Disputes).

*** These commercials feature images of global unrest and warnings of the next economic collapse followed by reliable trustworthy pitchmen from our past like William Devane preaching the safety of gold because you know, the price of gold only goes in one direction - up. Gold pimp, Rosland Capital, takes it one step further with a running national debt calculator on its website to really drive home the hopelessness and inevitability of it all. I'm surprised they don't have a member of ISIS holding the calculator in one hand and a burning American flag in the other.

Remember, if you can't spot the sucker in your first
half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.
**** I know I've disgruntled a major segment of my customer base by taking a faux moral stand against featuring scantily clad Hollywood temptresses and British porn stars but allow me to make amends by referring you to Esquire's gallery entitled Emilia Clarke is the Sexiest Woman Alive in 2015. I hope this means we can still be friends.

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com