Yahoo pulls plug on daily fantasy in Florida

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[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]

Nine years ago, Congress laid the foundation for the phenomenon now known as daily fantasy. Fueled by the 2015 football season and a cola-war ad blitz from the two leading DFS operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, multiple states are now trying to blow the house down.

Nevada, in an obvious effort to protect its own gambling industry, has ruled that daily fantasy constitutes gambling, and that anyone doing daily fantasy business in that state must have a license to do so. DraftKings and FanDuel have complied.

Yahoo, which is sort of like the RC Cola in the Coke-and-Pepsi battle between FanDuel and DraftKings, also has pulled the plug on Nevada. Yahoo likewise has alerted customers that it will suspend operations in Florida, where a federal grand jury is exploring whether daily fantasy violates Florida law and, in turn, federal law regarding gambling operations of a certain size that violate the gambling laws of any given states.

That’s why the major daily fantasy operators already have avoided Montana, Louisiana, Arizona, Washington, and Iowa. Nevada now joins the list, and (at least for Yahoo) Florida, too.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in Florida have served a subpoena to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, which confirms the existence of the grand-jury investigation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the subpoena seeks copies of board-meeting minutes.

With Florida law arguably preventing fantasy sports for money (and the major DFS operators believing Florida allows it), the question now becomes whether other states have obscure laws that have been overlooked — and whether other states that hope to protect their own legal gambling operations (from casinos to scratch-off tickets) will take action against daily fantasy.

There’s a certain amount of hypocrisy that arises from a state realizing that its own gambling operations are being undermined by daily fantasy and taking steps to preserve their own gambling operations by enforcing little-known laws on the books or passing new laws aimed at either shutting DFS down or, perhaps more accurately, allowing the state to get a piece of the action over and above any taxes paid by winners.

So the DFS experience will now become a story of lawyers and lobbyists, with companies being forced to spend more and more money dealing with the unanticipated (but not really all that surprising) reaction of politicians who realize there’s an out-of-state ox to be gored.

Along the way, these states could be creating plenty of in-state criminals, depending upon how far they go to get a slice of the DFS pie. As FTSA president Paul Charchian told Fortune last month, “Daily fantasy is extremely popular, right? So if you are a state that is thinking about criminalizing it, boy, you’d better think twice about how many millions of your citizens you may be criminalizing.”

For now, it looks to be less about states criminalizing millions of citizens and more about states getting their hands on some of the millions of dollars that are flowing away from in-state activities that obviously are gambling toward an endeavor that Congress has decided isn’t.

19 responses to “Yahoo pulls plug on daily fantasy in Florida

  1. Being from a state that bans daily fantasy sucks. Fan duel and draft kings each match opening deposits which for me would mean at least a couple of football seasons worth. And honestly considering how small my bets would be if I was so bad that I lost $400 in two seasons of daily fantasy I would no longer play bc apparently I would be terrible at it.

  2. Pick your lodestar wisely. If Congress says something is true, that’s usually a good indicator it isn’t, just that lobbying interests want it to be true.

  3. If Florida says fantasy sports is gambling and makes it illegal then they need to ban the Florida lottery, scratch off tickets, Along with hai alai and the dog track venues. Hmm if Fla allows all of that why not fantasy sports smh..oh the hypocrisy

  4. If it wasn’t for the insider use from the draft kings high level employee on fanduel website, all this doesn’t happen so quickly and with as much federal support…thank the greed for that dude…to be honest been both draft kings and fanduel member from the beginning and I don’t care if both are compromised because of high level employee arrogance, they get what they deserve, CROOKS!

  5. In other news… It’s perfectly okay to get high in Washington state, but you better not be playing fantasy football for money or your butt is going to be making a court appearance! Derrrr…. upside down bro…upside down…

  6. DFS players need to boycott Las Vegas if DFS gets banned. I look at Nevada’s actions as an attempt to kill DFS.

    If DFS gets banned, I will never again spend a cent in Nevada.

  7. There is nothing in the pipeline that would criminalize the act of playing DFL. As with online gambling and poker the illegality lies with the people ‘taking’ the money, not the people ‘giving’ the money. Running a book is a crime. Making a bet between two consenting adults is not.

  8. faithful209er says:
    Oct 18, 2015 10:02 AM
    DFS players need to boycott Las Vegas if DFS gets banned. I look at Nevada’s actions as an attempt to kill DFS.

    If DFS gets banned, I will never again spend a cent in Nevada

    ——————————————

    Yeah that’ll show em! There are single players in Nevada who spend more in a single day than you and a million of your friends would spend in a lifetime.

  9. In other news… It’s perfectly okay to rent a prostitute in Nevada, but you better not be playing fantasy football for money or your butt is going to be making a court appearance! Derrrr…. upside down bro…upside down…

    Sorry, i loved this so much, i want to use it over and over again.

  10. In other news… It’s perfectly okay to spend your money on playing the state lottery, but you better not be playing fantasy football for money or your butt is going to be making a court appearance! Derrrr…. upside down bro…upside down…

    Sorry, i loved this so much, i want to use it over and over again.

  11. Supporting an argument that there is any sort of ambiguity over whether DF is gambling is unambiguously reprehensible. But hey keep pushing that “adrenaline rush.”

  12. Proponents and opponents of Fantasy Sports have to look at several facts. Customers pay to play, and there are large prizes to be won by a small number of players. Words like pay, play and win sound a lot like casino gaming or pari-mutual wagering; so it’s difficult to say this is not gambling. Arguments that this is a game of skill, not luck, are inaccurate and comparing FS to Chess, is absurd. There may be skill involved, in choosing better players, or at least in knowing which are overpriced compared to their true value, in impacting a games outcome. But so is skill involved in the games of Black Jack and Poker, and on which bets in Craps have the better odds, or slots that have the best payback percentage.

  13. Dear Politicians, will you please devote your time to immigration, dwindling resources, nuclear waste, climate changes, coral reefs, gmo’s, mechanically separated chicken, sexy sounding drugs that have more side effects than the condition that they are supposed to be healing, I hate politicians, they ALL LIE! to achieve their goal.
    You want my vote? Show me your stance on this issue so maybe I can believe you on the other ones.

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