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Report Says FanDuel Lobbied Against New York Gaming Protections

Empire State Building General View New York City
The Empire State Building (L) and One World Trade Center are seen in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP

A recent report reveals sportsbook giant, FanDuel, objected to some of the protections woven into New York’s sports betting regulations but their objections were to no avail.

FanDuel Objects

It has been an awkward news cycle for sports betting goliath, FanDuel, and its Dublin-based parent company, Flutter Entertainment. According to unredacted transcripts from the New York State registrar, FanDuel objected to updated protections for underage bettors and problem gamblers but those provisions were ultimately included in the updated regulations in October.

One document dated October 18th noted that FanDuel objects to a ban on advertising in the “area of a college or university campus”. The notation further states that this objection could be interpreted to “include unaffiliated residential and commercial areas that border a college or university campus.”

FanDuel also called for a removal of the requirement that mandates sports betting operators to include assistance for compulsive gamblers in their advertising and not just on their website. The company insisted the messages would take up “too much” space in its print and media advertising.

Third-party marketers should be held accountable for their own “false, deceptive or misleading” statements and not the sports betting operators for whom they are promoting, said FanDuel.

Another protective measure promoted by the state was negating the use of certain keywords in advertising like “problem gambling help” that could attract problem gamblers. FanDuel wanted this language restricted to just known problem gamblers but the Commission disagreed.

The Reasoning

FanDuel insisted the keyword requirement was “extremely subjective and impractical to enforce,” stating it would be akin to “a liquor store not being able to advertise to customers who ‘may be’ alcoholics,” according to Edmund Burns, the General Counsel at the New York State Gaming Commission.

Anti-money-laundering requirements were also at odds with what FanDuel wanted as they wanted them stripped entirely or reserved for an annual compliance statement. That too was rejected by the Commission.

The Blowback

Brianne Doura-Schawohl, a problem-gambling lobbyist, said companies like FanDuel are not taking their responsibility to the public seriously enough.

“It’s the biggest hypocrisy,” she said. “It seems not only disingenuous to the public but also the policymakers that probably took many of them at their word that responsible gambling was a priority.”

The gambling industry is “utilizing consumer welfare and responsible gambling practices to legalize markets,” added Doura-Schawohl. “But when there is an opportunity to influence regulations, they are trying to overturn and undo any obligations they have to the very consumer protections they promised were a pillar of their business.”

Jim Maney, the Executive Director at the New York Council on Problem Gambling, believes the increase in online gambling across the state delivers revenue but also inflicts pain on the vulnerable stating, “I think industry could do more to assist. It may be burdensome, but we have to make sure that we are protecting the most at-risk populations.”

Although FanDuel objected vehemently to many of the updated provisions that govern the gambling industry in New York, their efforts yielded no relief as all of the measures were accepted and approved.

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