Despite the recent scrutiny of daily fantasy by lawmakers, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver still stands behind his conviction that DFS should be legalized and regulated, rather than being outright banned or shipped to untrustworthy operators offshore. On FiveThirtyEight’s 搬瓦工 Hot Takedown podcast yesterday, , arguing that the demand for the industry has become so large that it can no longer be ignored.
“My view is that daily fantasy should be a regulated industry in New York and elsewhere, and I think ultimately that should be a decision for the voters,” Silver said.
The commissioner was the first head of a large sports organization to come out in support of the regulation of sports betting and DFS. He believes sports wagering is widespread in the US and that due to prohibition, users are only left with untrustworthy foreign options. He does not want the same thing to happen to the daily fantasy industry.
Furthermore, he says, many states already allow online lotteries as well as other forms of legal gambling, whether they be skill games or not. “There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events,” he said in a New York Times editorial last year.
That article came long before New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman daily fantasy operators were breaking state law and must close up shop immediately.
“Whether or not the attorney general is right that, under a statute in New York, daily fantasy is something that should be considered gambling and therefore not allowed, I think that’s just a short-term issue,” Silver added during the podcast. “The longer-term issue is for the legislature to decide whether daily fantasy is an activity that our representatives think is appropriate for the people in New York State to engage in.”
The commissioner says that he is not necessarily an advocate of sports betting or playing daily fantasy, but backs the idea of regulation because “all the research shows that it’s a multi-hundred billion dollar business just in the United States right now.”
Responding to whether either industry would put the league’s integrity in question, he responded that “it’s only bad news for us when it continues to remain underground.” He added that through regulation, we can implement controls on the industry and can track users “the same way the stock market can track buying and selling.”
The NBA made an investment in FanDuel last November which gave it an equity stake in the company. The NFL hasn’t entered into an exclusive deal with any DFS company, but has allowed individual teams and players to strike sponsorship agreements.