[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.]
The National Football League has a long history of opposition to illegal gambling. The NFL has embraced daily fantasy.
The NFL is headquartered in New York. In New York, daily fantasy is (at least for now) officially regarded as illegal gambling.
Simple logic would suggest that the NFL would be immediately (even if temporarily) severing ties with companies like FanDuel and DraftKings, since their business model has been declared illegal gambling in the home state of the National Football League. It’s unknown whether the NFL will be doing that, because the NFL told PFT that it has no comment on the ruling that makes daily fantasy illegal gambling (at least for now) in New York.
While the league resisted making an investment in DraftKings or FanDuel (unlike other major sports leagues), the NFL has generated plenty of revenue from advertising partnerships with these companies. Also, at least two owners — Jerry Jones of the Cowboys and Robert Kraft of the Patriots — have made investments in DraftKings.
When it comes to gambling, the NFL’s opposition doesn’t simply relate to illegal wagering on sports. Several years ago, the NFL forced multiple members of the Rooney family to sell their interest in the Steelers due to legal gambling interests in Florida. Although Commissioner Roger Goodell has tried to distinguish daily fantasy from wagering on games in reliance upon the federal government’s position that DFS doesn’t amount to gambling, one of the most important states in the nation — and the state where the NFL primarily does business — has determined that it is.
Whether the NFL does anything in response to that remains to be seen. For now, the league is opting to say nothing.