Amaya Pushes for DFS Regulation in the US

October 11th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
David Baazov and Amaya calls for tighter regulations of DFS in the US following incidents involving DraftKings and FanDuel. (Image: flickr.com)

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) might be a booming industry in the US at the moment, but the recent scandal involving its two largest operators has prompted Amaya to call for tougher regulations.

The parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt recently entered the DFS market with its own platform, StarsDraft, and didn’t waste an opportunity to put a dent in its rivals’ reputations by using it to call for customer protection.

Problems for DraftKings and FanDuel

Earlier this week news broke that DraftKings manager Ethan Haskell released inside information about the NFL and subsequently won $350,000 on rival site, FanDuel.

According to reports, Haskell leaked data which highlighted which players had been selected the most during DraftKings Millionaire Maker.

Although this data is later released once the line-ups for all eligible games have been announced, Haskell’s early access to the data gave him an advantage over the field.

Much like a poker player having exclusive access to the betting habits of all his opponents long before they are able to see his stats, this data gave Haskell enough of an edge to win a huge amount of money.

DraftKings and FanDuel quickly moved to defend their position and suggested that Haskell had made a mistake; however, the damage was already done and New York Attorney General, Eric Scheiderman, moved to investigate the potential unfair advantage DFS employees can gain by using sensitive information and taking part in competitions on rival sites.

Amaya Taking the Legal High Ground

While it’s unlikely this incident will stop DFS from continuing its current level of growth within the US, it’s certainly given a black eye to the two market leaders and that’s something Amaya hasn’t let go unnoticed.

Point scoring aside, Amaya is also keen to push for tighter regulation given the trouble it had trying to obtain an iGaming license to offer poker and casino gaming in New Jersey.

For more than 12 months the company had to fight to obtain a license for PokerStars in New Jersey; despite meeting much of the necessary criteria.

Although Amaya was eventually successful in its efforts to obtain a conditional license (which means PokerStars go live within the state), the process was extremely draining on its resources and it wants to avoid a similar scenario in the future.

Although there is nothing on the horizon in terms of regulation, it seems as though Amaya doesn’t want to fall into the same trap that many online poker sites did in the post-UIGEA era in the US.

Having firsthand experience of the legal quagmire than companies can fall into, Amaya seems intent on creating clearly defined lines from the start so that its own operation or any other company’s won’t have to suffer in the future.

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