Allegations of employees of fantasy sports companies using inside information has prompted the New York attorney general to launch an inquiry into the matter.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a letter to fantasy sports sites, FanDuel and DraftKings, asking them to furnish the information of employees who put together the statistical data of athletes and set prices for contests. Also requested is the information as to where the company data is stored and the people who have access to it. The companies have until October 15 to respond.
The scandal came to the fore when DraftKings content manager, Ethan Haskell, reportedly won $350,000 on FanDuel after accidentally tweeting player popularity percentages. However, the company denied claims of misused information, saying that Haskell did not have any advantage. The company added that Haskell received the data 40 minutes after the deadline to post his roster on FanDuel.
As reported by Mashable, the companies released a joint statement, saying, “Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs.”
In fantasy sports, fans and contestants create a customized fantasy team by selecting from a list of real players. The statistics of the fantasy teams are directly dependent on the players’ real time statistics.
The DraftKings employee allegedly used the data that cited the percentage of fans who selected certain players. Employees of both companies were disallowed from playing in fantasy sports until an industry policy on data access was established. Almost $2 billion in prizes will be paid out by DraftKings this year, as reported by CNN.
New York congressional representative, Hakeem Jeffries, urged the House Judiciary Committee in Washington to look into the matter and assess “whether permitting a multibillion-dollar industry to police itself serves the best interests of the American people.” New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez called on the Federal Trade Commission to enforce stricter regulations on the industry, as reported by the New York Times.
Amid the controversy, ESPN took the move of keeping itself away from the companies by cancelling all sponsored segments from its shows.
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