FanDuel adds Daily Fantasy Sports Betting on Golf

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Fantasy GolfFor nearly two full years, daily fantasy sports betting blew up the headlines from Europe to North America. Then suddenly, in November 2016, following the announcement of an intended merger between DraftKings and FanDuel, it got quiet. Now, in preparation of the merger, more fantasy sports are being added to FnDuel’s line-up.

According to a report from Yahoo Finance, FanDuel announced this week that it will be adding Fantasy Golf to its repertoire. The news comes two months after the operator declared the integration of English Premier League (EPL) soccer in its daily fantasy sports betting roster. Those two additions marked the first new sports added to the FanDuel offering in three years.

Early Amalgamation of FanDuel, DraftKings

The general assumption is that FanDuel is making an effort to more closely mirror the existing offerings of its soon-to-be partner, DraftKings. The companies have managed to keep quiet their intentions following the impending merger, but industry experts have predicted the two will surely combine their operations into a single platform.

Over the years, DraftKings has historically presented its users with a notably wider range of daily fantasy sports offerings. Both operators have provided the most popular major league sports, such as MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL, throughout their existence. But DraftKings pushed the envelope early on with additional betting options on sports like golf, mixed martial arts (MMA), NASCAR and soccer (Champions League, EPL and MLS).

Conversely, FanDuel has always maintained a platform that focuses on the industry’s primary money makers. In 2015, Chief Executive Officer Nigel Eccles explicated FanDuel’s then-current position.

“When we looked at our data, we said, you know what, 80% of our revenue comes from NBA and football; it’s more important that we go deep there,” said Eccles. “If [DraftKings] have 100% market share of a sport that only has 1% of the total market, hey, okay. I’d rather have 80% market share of 80% of the market.”

FanDuel Changes Its Tune on Fantasy Golf

His tune changed this week when Eccles told Yahoo Finance that smaller, niche markets like fantasy golf, “always kind of slipped to the bottom of the pile.” He added that the daily fantasy sports betting company “had been looking at golf for over a year.”

When questioned about the ambiguous legality in North American markets, US and Canada, he said that’s why FanDuel “took our time” in implementing the new product.

“We were mindful of the regulatory environment, but now we have states passing laws and really setting the boundaries of what we can and can’t do. We think there’s a golf product we can do that would be compliant with that and be an awesome experience,” he enthused.

DFS Betting On Golf Illegal In US?

Despite the positive changes in US state-by-state regulations regarding daily fantasy sports betting, there’s still an undertone that fantasy golf, in particular, may be seen as illegal gambling. The problem is that a single tournament on the PGA Tour does not technically encompass the requirements of “containing multiple events”.

That stipulation is clearly defined in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which DFS operators leaned heavily upon two years ago when arguing the legality of daily fantasy sports betting.

Professor Marc Edleman of Baruch University, an attorney who’s consulted with DFS operators in the past, opined that fantasy golf “is still a problem, from a technical legal perspective.”

He believes that regulators, especially in New York, “are either not cognizant of the problem, or are choosing to overlook it.” But that stance may not last forever. Edleman said, “it is ambiguous at best as to whether a single golf tournament constitutes multiple events.”

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