US fantasy sports trade group unveils new control board

28 October 2015

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the organisation for the fantasy sports industry in the US, has created a new control board to oversee the national market and avoid outside regulation.

As reported by iGaming Business, the US fantasy sport industry has come under fire in recent weeks due to the controversy surrounding a DraftKings employee winning a real-money competition on rival website FanDuel.

Despite clearing the employee of any wrongdoing, the incident led to both firms banning staff from taking part in competitions on rival sites, while Nevada ruled daily that fantasy sports (DFS) companies cannot operate in the state without a gambling licence.

In addition, the US Department of Justice and the FBI are said to be in the early stages of investigating DFS operators while, in Florida, a Grand Jury has been convened to investigate whether DFS is in breach of state law.

In the wake of this activity, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association has moved to create a new control board, which will be headed up by Seth Harris.

Harris, who served as acting US secretary of labour in the Obama administration, said that the board will help ensure DFS games are run honestly through new controls such as a regular auditing process that will establish if companies are abiding by rules.

“The hope is, by doing that, regulation from outside won't be necessary, that we'll have actual compliance within the industry and no violations that will attract attention from others,” Harris said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Harris also said the board plans to have a draft version of standards and rules for the US industry within the next six months and that the group will meet with state regulators, as well as federal lawmakers and other stakeholders, to address their concerns.

Harris also noted that while the new board will play a role in enforcing rules, he said that “the goal of the project is to prevent and pre-empt violation rather than to punish”.

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