In bombarding the airwaves with NFL season ads, FanDuel and DraftKings have turned daily fantasy sports into a high profile industry. While that attention brings new customers, it has also spurred lawmakers into calling for hearings clarifying the legal status of DFS. Now, DraftKings has gone on the offensive, asking its New Jersey players to contact Garden State legislators and ask that they not restrict the industry in the state.
Here’s an excerpt of an email sent to New Jersey residents on behalf of DraftKings’ cofounders:
“Earlier this week, we asked you to join the fight to protect fantasy sports in New Jersey by signing our petition. Today, we are asking you to go a step further by contacting your legislators directly.
Send your legislators a note, telling them you oppose any measure that would restrict your ability to play fantasy sports in New Jersey.
Those of us who love to play fantasy sports know — it’s about the challenge, the skill, and connecting with friends, family, and coworkers.”
Ring fencing won’t work
DFS operators are afraid that if current New Jersey legislation passes, operators would be forced to limit their product to only players physically inside the state. While online gambling in NJ is legal, current state law calls for games to be ring fenced. That means that player pools for online poker are significantly smaller than they would be if they shared liquidity with other jurisdictions.
Those restrictions effectively cripple legal online poker, since the game relies on an abundance of players to create a healthy ecosystem. Limiting DFS by state would have the same effect; guaranteed prize pools would be tiny, and cash game selection would be scant.
DraftKings urges all players, not just those in New Jersey, to make their voices heard. Fans of DFS anywhere in the country can copy the following template provided by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA).
“Playing fantasy sports is not about the money. It’s about the challenge, the skill, the fun, and connecting with friends, family, and coworkers. I urge you to oppose any measure that would restrict the ability to play fantasy sports in New Jersey, and to support keeping fantasy sports accessible for everyone in our state.
Stand with your constituents, like me, who support #FantasyforAll. Thank you.”
The campaign was modeled after transportation company Uber’s attempts at influencing lawmakers to allow its service to remain legal. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins referred to Uber’s grassroots efforts as being “the playbook” for their own strategy.
Rival FanDuel kicked off a campaign of its own a few weeks ago, urging players to sign a petition in support of the industry.