The corruption of daily fantasy sports leagues was exposed this week, as accusations of fraud, negligence and insider trading could doom DraftKings and FanDuel.
Todd Fuhrman was surprised by none of this.
“We have kind of a unique stance on it,” the sportsline.com analyst and Vegas insider said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We know a little bit more about the industry and how daily fantasy has been successful in carving out its own niche. We’ve talked about it for years, these rights fees that different leagues get. It’s a byproduct of the gambling dollars that take place. CBS spends an arm and a leg for the NCAA Tournament – not because everyone wants to watch the Jackson States of the world take on Kentucky. They want to see how their brackets are doing. Daily fantasy carves out that opportunity for people to have a little bit of skin in the game – whether it’s $2 for an entry, whether it’s $5. And when you go through this thought process – that, ‘Yes I’m on a level playing field,’ – I think it’s a bit naive.
“A great analogy was made today by one of the world’s most successful NBA bettors, Bob Voulgaris,” Fuhrman continued. (He) said think of entering a daily fantasy pool as a two- or five-dollar bettor as going into Vegas sitting down in a poker room opposite Johnny Chan, opposite Chris Moneymaker and thinking that (you’re going to be able to catch lightning in a bottle and beat) these guys who dedicated their life to trying to beat the numbers. When you’re betting a particular game and a point spread’s involved, it’s you against the the bookmaker. You know what you’re dealing with. It’s not kind of the unknown. There’s folks that are spending 16-, 18-hour days building analytics, models, and they have every tool possible at their disposal to try and carve out an opportunity to take advantage of some of the soft money that’s in the daily fantasy pools.”
But why are the professional leagues still embracing daily fantasy yet still trying to distance themselves from regular sports gambling?
“I think they’ve fallen victim – and maybe victim’s not the right word – to the idea that this is more of a skill game when it comes to daily fantasy than a game of chance,” Fuhrman said. “But when we look at a lot of the things that professional games have put their logos behind, you see lottery tickets with team insignias on them that they’re endorsing. I think there’s just a culture of ignorance where they don’t really understand how much more valuable sports gambling could be if it’s properly regulated and that transparency is created.”