The blitzkrieg of advertising by Daily Fantasy Sports companies has now taken the centre stage of all discussions in the US at the moment. Close on the heels of the opening of the new NFL season, two leading lights of DFS-DraftsKing and FanDuel have splurged heavy money on advertising including launching NFL contests. This has not only worked in the favour of these DFS companies, but also has literally stirred a hornets’ nest with ethical and legal questions being raised all around.
Reaching the Targeted Audiences
The well laid out plans of the two leaders of the industry and others like newbies Yahoo and PokerStars seemed to have succeeded in their mission, as seen in the trends of online hits published by Google. Drawing from their experience of proving golf daily fantasy games, DraftsKing planned to duplicate its efforts in soccer. It is also rumoured that DraftsKing has initiated steps to get a betting licence in the UK. Thus, all plans were afloat in winning the patronage of the different sports fans for fantasy games by the market leaders of the industry.
All that Begins Well Doesn’t Necessarily End Well!
Over the weeks, daily fantasy games companies like Draftsking and FanDuel seem to have hit a roadblock while attracting the attention of all and sundry for all the wrong reasons. What started off as a roller coaster ride now seems to be ending as a catastrophe, not only for them, but also for the entire industry.
However, there are hardly any takers for the claim of the DFS companies about their games being a skill-oriented game. In particular, the law makers in the federal and state level have voiced their concern about the effects of permitting the fantasy game. The DFS companies have been individually and through their association countering the common perception that it is merely a game of chance. As of now, however, fantasy sports in general and the daily variation of it particularly have failed to gain much sanctity among neutral observers and law-makers.
More Rough Rides on the Anvil
Facing a barrage of adverse reaction from all quarters, the only silver lining for the DFS companies is the Republican Chair of House Energy and Commerce committee, Fred Upton, declaring that any action on the DFS companies may not be initiated immediately. However, other law makers like New Jersey’s Frank Pallone have been more vocal in calling for action against the DFS companies for advertising brazenly, a product, which is nothing, but gambling.
Is it the End of the Road?
And sadly for the DFS companies, quotes from various quarters, which do not sound complimentary are being used against them. One such comment is that of the chief executive of the MGM Resorts International, Jim Murren, who had said that he considers fantasy sports as gambling. Leading analyst, Chris Grove has succinctly said that the big budgeted ad campaign before the start of the NFL season has done more harm than good by inviting the wrath of the federal representatives.