FanDuel-DraftKings Merger Runs Into Potential Trouble; Christie Says Trump Administration Is Against Gambling

Written By Steve Ruddock on June 16, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
DraftKings and FanDuel merger

[toc]After a flurry of daily fantasy sports legislative activity during the first week of June, the second week of June saw things quiet down a bit.

Legislation may have stalled out this past week, but several other DFS developments grabbed some headlines, including the attempted merger between FanDuel and DraftKings and a problem gambling report in New Jersey.

It was also a slow week on the sports betting front, as the only real news was made by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who opined about the Trump administration’s views on gambling in general.

DFS legislation update

We may be experiencing the calm before the storm, as a number of states are still trying to turn DFS bills into laws, but for now we’ll have to sit tight and play the waiting game in states like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan.

The DFS bill tally

With the addition of Michigan, the number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 shot up to 24. The number of states with active legislation held steady at 17 now that Vermont is off the board:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Hawaii
  7. Illinois
  8. Iowa
  9. Kentucky
  10. Maine
  11. Michigan
  12. Minnesota
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Jersey
  16. New Hampshire
  17. North Carolina
  18. Ohio
  19. Oregon
  20. Pennsylvania
  21. Rhode Island
  22. Texas
  23. Vermont
  24. Washington

Legal Sports Report’s legislative tracker has up-to-the-minute updates on all DFS legislation.

FanDuel-DraftKings merger in jeopardy?

The proposed merger of the two giants of DFS, DraftKings and FanDuel, may have run into a snag. The Federal Trade Commission is apparently considering blocking the merger on anti-trust grounds, according to a report in Recode.

According to Recode:

Staff at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have raised serious competition concerns with the proposed merger of FanDuel and DraftKings, according to three sources familiar with the matter, raising the specter that the government agency could soon block the deal.

Legal Sports Report took a deep dive into this potential development.

Rutgers study paints morbid picture of DFS

In other DFS news, a study by Rutgers Center for Gambling Research came to some interesting conclusions about DFS and its links to addiction.

The researchers were looking into problem gambling rates associated with online gambling, and in doing so they discovered some extremely troubling information about DFS players.

Not only was there nearly a 100 percent crossover rate between DFS and traditional forms of gambling, but the Rutgers team found DFS players were far more likely to have issues with alcohol and drugs:

“… half the sample used tobacco, four‐fifths used alcohol, and one‐third reported binge drinking and using illicit drugs. DFS players were more than twice as likely as other gamblers to endorse problems with overeating, nearly four times more likely to have problems with sex and pornography, and five times more likely to exercise excessively. More than one‐fourth of DFS players reported serious mental health issues in the past 30 days, twice as many as other gamblers.”

Another troubling piece of data was the link to suicide. The report found DFS players to be, “13 times more likely to report suicidal ideation… [and] nine times more likely to have attempted suicide compared to other gamblers.”

Sports betting legalization update

Christie talks Trump and gambling

Christie was a guest co-host on the Boomer and Carton Show on WFAN in New York this week, and after answering a caller’s question about the state’s sports betting case, Christie went on to say that it’s his belief the Trump administration doesn’t think things like gambling and marijuana are state’s rights issues.

“I think they’re against both,” Christie told co-host Craig Carton during the segment.

Of course, the Trump administration is dealing with far more important issues at the moment.

Sports betting legislation

There are nine states that have either taken up the fight to repeal PASPA, or are exploring legislation that would authorize sports betting if federal sports betting laws were to change:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Hawaii
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. New Jersey
  6. New York
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. South Carolina
  9. West Virginia
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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a veteran of the gambling industry, having been a longtime contributor to numerous publications both online and off centered on the regulated US online gambling industry. Steve is based in Massachusetts.

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