As calls for banning fantasy games in the US gather momentum, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has been the first to jump on the banning bandwagon and imposed a ban on fantasy sports websites. The move was justified by the Nevada Games Body stating that games are a form of unlicensed sports betting. The ban by the gaming body comes in the wake of allegations of a DraftKings employee unscrupulously winning $350,000 by betting on rival site FanDuel.
The Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry, hitherto unregulated, has been facing widespread criticism for its business practices from the US lawmakers who have called for strict regulation to be imposed on its business conduct. Around 90% of the US gaming industry is controlled by DraftKings and FanDuel. Those foraying into the charms of these games are enamoured by its high-stake prizes and can win millions of dollars by paying a game fee. There is an increased movement growing to bring the DFS industry largely under proper rules and regulations. Business executives have argued that a legal authority is the need of the hour for an industry, which is a major money spinner and whose conduct needs to be kept under check.
The scandal in the US has also impacted the DFS business in Europe, which also remains largely unregulated. Market watchers have argued that there is an urgent need to put regulatory policies in place. In the US, the DFS business largely revolves around the US sports and in Europe there is an increasing demand for fantasy football companies to imbibe similar gaming principles, which have been huge growth drivers in the US.
Gaming executives in Europe have stated that the present crisis facing the DFS industry in the US was inevitable. The presence of a proper regulatory authority to monitor business conduct not only protects the interests of the gaming patrons, but is also important for keeping the operators on a proper leash. The European fantasy sports industry, presently, is in a nascent stage and European legislators have not been able to utilise the limited time they have had to adapt laws for best business practices in the industry.
A chief votary for introducing large-scale regulation of the highly under-regulated DFS industry is the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS). It has stated that like the sports betting industry over the last couple of decades has seen betting worth millions of dollars, in the same breath, the Daily Fantasy Sports industry has become a huge money-spinning market operated largely on its own code of conduct with no proper regulating authority. If a proper system of checks and balances is not imposed in the working of this industry, then it has a chance to be infiltrated by organised crime gangs. There may also be rising instance of insider trading leading to increased cases of corruption or even extreme cases of match fixing.
In order to plug these lacunae, Europe will have to get on its feet and make rapid moves to install firm regulating measures for preventing the kind of incidents, which recently occurred in the US.