FanDuel Fought Against Proposed Rules to Protect Young and Problem Gamblers

FanDuel Legal States


  • FanDuel argued against a ban on verbiage that would supposedly attract problem gamblers
  • The company also took exception to several rules regarding advertising and fantasy sports
  • The New York Gaming Commission defended most of the rules and proposals

FanDuel Sportsbook was recently found to have fought against protections that would help problem gamblers.

According to The Guardian, FanDuel, one of the largest online sportsbooks in America, lobbied in New York against a ban on verbiage that would attract those with or at risk of developing a gambling addiction. It also did not support a ban on sports betting advertisements near college campuses. 

The report comes after a series of documents were released from New York by the Freedom of Information Act. FanDuel has yet to comment on the situation at the time of writing.

Fighting problem gambling  

Online sports betting has flourished since it was legalized federally in 2018. New York has been the greatest benefactor of the market’s creation and is the nation’s leader in sports betting, regularly drawing betting handles of more than a billion dollars in a month.

The documents were released in redacted and full form. The documents show that FanDuel, which has the number to a problem gambling helpline at the top of its website and other resources throughout, did not agree with the full list of proposed protections for problem gamblers.

One of FanDuel’s arguments was that the proposed restriction on certain language was “extremely subjective and impractical to enforce.” They said the rules were akin to a liquor store having rules against marketing their products to customers who could be alcoholics.

The company’s opposition to the ban on advertising near college grounds was that the language “could be read to include [nearby] unaffiliated residential and commercial areas.” 

The New York Gaming Commission (NYGC) did not waver in its stance and reasserted its support for the rule. They said that advertising in a commercial area across the street from a college dorm building could still create problems for under-21 students, even if the advertisement wasn’t directly targeting them.

“It’s the biggest hypocrisy,” said lobbyist Brianne Doura-Schawohl. “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.” 

38 states and Washington D.C. have legalized sports betting. One of the biggest hurdles for lawmakers in most of these states (along with the 12 that are yet to legalize) is the risk of increased problem gambling rates and subsequent problems.

More disagreement in New York 

Another proposal that FanDuel disagreed with said that operators should be held liable for “false, deceptive or misleading” claims made by people, companies, or groups advertising their platform. The company said that whoever made the false claim should be held responsible instead of FanDuel itself.

The NYGC once again stood firm, arguing that companies should be in contact with affiliates and have a clear enough line of communication to prevent or correct marketing mistakes.

There was also disagreement on how to handle people not of age using their fantasy sports services, with FanDuel arguing against a rule that would hold operators responsible for their misuse. This was contentious since fantasy sports operators claim their platforms should not legally be considered gambling platforms. 

FanDuel also took exception to a proposal that would require sportsbooks to highlight problem gambling resources during their ads.

Edmund Burns, general counsel at the NYGC, said in a memo that was released that FanDuel felt doing so would occupy too much time during ad spots, and it would need to create separate ads just for New York compared to its national campaigns.

The NYGC defended most of the objections. Executive director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, Jim Maney, also said that the “[gambling] industry could do more to assist” the fight against problem gambling.

Several other anti-gambling and problem gambling lobbyists have voiced their concerns about the rapid rise of legal sports betting recently. FanDuel’s objections to a variety of safety measures have raised concern amongst these groups and led to calls for stricter oversight and guidelines.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.