While the DFS industry reels from the leak of private DraftKings data earlier this month, the New York Times is reporting that another DraftKings employee may have pulled insider data and divulged it inappropriately during a company party.
On Wednesday, a casual daily fantasy player named Madison Calvert made a post on Reddit detailing a conversation he had had with DraftKings exec and elite DFS player Jon Aguiar which had left him troubled. Speaking to Aguiar at a DraftKings sponsored event, Calvert discussed his baseball lineups in upcoming contests. Then, to his surprise, Aguiar casually looked up some information on his phone and told Calvert that his choice of pitcher was a bad one, being that so many other players had drafted him in their lineups.
“I shouldn’t have pulled that up in front of you, ha-ha,” Calvert recalled Aguiar telling him.
If true, the story implies that Aguiar had accessed DraftKings’ backend and given Calvert private data, unavailable to the public, which could help his guest gain an advantage against the opposition.
Furthermore, being that Aguiar himself is an avid DFS player, albeit on competitor sites, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that he might access such data to give himself an advantage in creating his own lineups.
A few days earlier, Calvert had been challenged by a player named Rick Sawyer. After he did a quick Google search, he found out that Sawyer was a business planning manager at DraftKings. After the incident with Aguiar, he became suspicious that DraftKings employees had accessed data about his play on the site and pegged him as an easy target.
Only 20 minutes after he made his post on Reddit, he was called personally by DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish. Even so, the experience has spooked him enough into calling it quits with DFS.
Last week, DraftKings and FanDuel declared that they had permanently banned all employees from playing DFS for real money, on any site. The problem is, however, that many employees at DFS sites are the most successful and high-volume players in the industry. DraftKings founder Paul Liberman even told attendees at a conference in Boston last month that banning employees would make it difficult for the site to retain talent, as some make even more playing DFS that at their regular job.
Industry employees amongst biggest DFS winners
According to a study in Sports Business Daily, the top 1.3% of users win 91% of all player profits, with the top 11 big spenders accounting for 17% of all entry fees alone. FanDuel spokesperson Justine Sacco recently revealed that DraftKings employees accounted for up to $10 million in total winnings in the sites contests.
Now, lawmakers and top DFS pros like Cory Albertson are calling for regulation. “When there are no internal controls to keep your employees in check in terms of what they’re doing, it’s understandable that many of them would become preoccupied with trying to also just win money playing fantasy sports,” Albertson said.
On Friday, DraftKings’ founders sent an email to players to quell their concerns; they did not make Aguiar available for comment.