Finally, some positive press for DFS. Ethan Haskell, the DraftKings employee who was demonized after accidentally publishing private company information, did not use that info to win a $350K prize on FanDuel that same week, according to an outside investigative team.
In the past couple of weeks, daily fantasy has been absolutely roasted in the media, with much of the hysteria being based on assumptions which are unfounded. Now, the renowned law firm of Greenberg Traurig, headed by former US Atty. John Poppalardo, has released the results of its investigation into whether Haskell inappropriately used private company info to win his six-figure score on FanDuel.
GT has received complete cooperation from the Company at every turn, and has been given unfettered access to all documents, systems, and individuals. GT’s independent investigation has confirmed that the Company’s initial findings were correct, and that the allegations that Mr. Haskell gained an unfair advantage in the $5M NFL Sunday Million contest due to his possession of the Company’s non-public information are without merit.
The investigation revealed several details about the incident:
- At 3:28 AM on Sunday, Haskell entered his line up into the FanDuel $5M NFL Sunday Million
- At 1 PM, all lineups in the contest were locked, and further editing was prohibited
- At 1:40 PM, Haskell received an Excel file listing how many users chose specific players in their lineups
Therefore, there was a 40 minute gap between when Haskell entered his lineup and when he received the private company information, making it impossible for him to have used that information to his advantage.
The report is welcome news to the DFS community, which has endured national scrutiny over the past few weeks. The fact that an outside team found no wrongdoing after pouring through company documents, emails, computer generated data and interviews with employees will give a boost to DFS proponents.
No more DFS for employees
With the potential for abuse identified, DraftKings and FanDuel quickly moved to ban employees from playing DFS, not only on their own site, but with any operator. That order may prove difficult to police, however, as employees at many DFS companies make more money playing DFS than working.
Here come the lawsuits
The report will also benefit Haskell, who has been named in one of 11 class-action lawsuits being filed against himself, along with FanDuel and DraftKings.
One suit was filed by a DraftKings player who deposited $100 into his account and alleges that the site’s contests are unfair.
“DraftKings performs analytics to determine winning strategies, return on investment of certain strategies and even how lineups on FanDuel would do if they were entered into DraftKings contests,” alleges the suit.
Last week, lawmakers promised to investigate the DFS industry, and Nevada forced DFS sites out until they procure a gambling license. But as the saying goes, any press is good press; In Week 5 of NFL play, the top three daily fantasy operators saw their traffic swell to the highest that operators had ever seen. Last week, however, numbers dropped for top operators, but DraftKings and FanDuel still managed to eke out a profit.