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  • tipster808

    I’m “that guy.” I’m concerned about DFS golf.

    I’m someone who has always been fascinated with the legal aspect of daily fantasy (UIGEA). Since I love playing it, I’ve read up more and more on the legal grounds for it. While there are definitely some gray areas, for the most part it looks like DFS is here to stay – which is great. But I can’t help but worry that DFS golf may change that some day, or at least cause some serious problems.

    While some of the language with UIGEA is gray, one part of it is not. UIGEA stipulates that the outcome of a fantasy game must be dependent on multiple sports events. That’s events with an “s”.

    I think it’s clear to all why DFS sites don’t do NASCAR. For the reason above. The Daytona 500 is one event. But you know what? The Masters is one event. So is the US Open. Or any other golf tournament. There’s no way around that and we all know it. But now multiple DFS sites are doing golf. Why?

    The only rational reason is that legally they consider a round in golf to constitute an event. But that to me just seems extremely flimsy from a legal standpoint. Any state’s attorney could slap UIGEA down in front of a DFS site doing it and say really easily “This is one event. It may have multiple rounds, but it’s one event. What you’re doing is illegal.”

    I think most DFS sites are hoping that doesn’t happen, more than that they actually have a full proof legal basis to run it.

    I’m curious what other people think and the sites as well. And yes, despite all of this, I’ll probably still try it.

  • jbergey

    I think that since people have to buy tickets each day they want to attend DFS would have a great case that these are separate events.

    If they did daily golf they would have no case.

  • dstars5

    I think the idea is that a player will average out over the course of 4 rounds. A player could have an absolutely terrible round, but the next one he could put up better numbers, and so on. Each round is a new day, so different wind, weather conditions, etc.

    Basically, I think your bet on a player is less effected by pure luck if he’s playing more rounds, as opposed to say NASCAR, where luck can have a much more significant effect on the outcome of the race (Crashes, blown tires, etc).

  • tipster808

    Right, but the problem at least to me remains that we’re still talking about one event.

    I actually do think that it does take a fair amount of skill to select a proper golf fantasy team to do well over four rounds. But the terminology of what an event is is pretty clear. And while I hear jbergey on how people have to buy tickets each day, I’m not sure people on the legal front would agree that’s a great way to argue golf’s legality as a DFS sport. The Masters is still The Masters as an event. That’s what concerns me.

  • alsmizzle

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    Because it lasts for four days, each round is considered another “event” and there’s a cut so the p[layers on days 1 and 2 are different from 3 and 4.

  • gibbathy

    2014 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year

    Easy way around it.

    Treat each day as a different tournament. Have the same scoring stats but instead of points for the tournaments overall winner you have points for each rounds winner.

  • dstars5

    It looks like the carve out language focuses on multiple TEAMS rather than events. I guess the argument for Golf is that each player is on his own team. I could be wrong.

  • tipster808

    The official language is as follows:

    (II) All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals (athletes in the case of sports events) in multiple real-world sporting or other events.

    (III) No winning outcome is based on the score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single real world team or any combination of such teams; or solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single real world sporting or other event.

    It’s the part in III that, while still gray, does bother me a bit. A golfer in a tournament could be said to have provided a single performance in a single real world sporting event. You’d hope that with a fantasy team of multiple golfers, that III would not apply. But there’s still that “any combination of such teams” which if interpreted as individual golfers, starts to make you wonder.

    To me, golf is just much closer to the line based on UIGEA. And for a sport that isn’t making any site that much money, you wonder if it’s worth the risk.

  • alsmizzle

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    It’s not one golfer vs one golfer. You have to select a TEAM of golfers using the salary cap. If it was I take Tiger and you take Phil, then it would be sports betting, but since you have to select 5-6 players and fit them under a cap, it fits into the rules/law.

  • rotokevin

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    This discussion comes up every now and then. Personally, I think golf is a line best not crossed. Sites have spent plenty with the lawyers to vet it, but it still makes me uneasy.

  • Putz

    @alsmizzle said…

    It’s not one golfer vs one golfer. You have to select a TEAM of golfers using the salary cap. If it was I take Tiger and you take Phil, then it would be sports betting, but since you have to select 5-6 players and fit them under a cap, it fits into the rules/law.

    Agree with this. The winning outcome for me in DFS Golf is not the performance of any single team or individual golfer, but the performance of the combination of 6-10 golfers.

  • db730

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    I agree, I definitely felt it was a gray area when I read the UIGEA. I also know these sites have 10’s of millions of dollars invested in them and I’m doubtful they would provide these games if their lawyers didn’t feel they have a pretty good argument as to why they fall under the law.

    It’s a fair discussion though and one I’d love to hear a sites point of view on.

  • emac

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    Would making it a survivor style game nudge golf to more solid footing?

    Each day you pick your golfers but you only get them for that day. If you where holding Tiger/Phil out for the cut and they didn’t make it then you obviously do not have them as options (adding a level of strategy).

    This method would create four distinct rounds/phases.

    Caveat: I am no legal eagle

  • easternmh

    You can play season long fantasy golf, don’t see the issue – and yes there is a skill in picking your golf team – I.e. past performance at the course, who’s playing well/who’s not, I could go on but you get the point

    Plus golf has four rounds thus it could be argued its not just one event – it’d be like doing a weekly hoops league, u pick your players for the week, each round would be considering like a different hoops game

  • nigeleccles

    FanDuel CEO

    We won’t be introducing fantasy golf. I think it is commercially attractive (its probably our next most requested sport) but I’m uncomfortable with the legality of it. Every time I have to make a decision like this I think whether the argument would stand up in court. To me a reasonable person would consider a golf tournament to be a single event, not multiple events. Therefore it would not fall under the UIGEA safe harbor. That does not automatically make it illegal (it may still be a game of skill under state law) but it does make it more risky.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and I’m sure any site who offers fantasy golf has paid for professional legal advice before introducing it.

  • rotokevin

    2014 RG Bowling Co-Champion, CPA & DFS Tax Guru

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    @alsmizzle said…

    It’s not one golfer vs one golfer. You have to select a TEAM of golfers using the salary cap. If it was I take Tiger and you take Phil, then it would be sports betting, but since you have to select 5-6 players and fit them under a cap, it fits into the rules/law.

    I still think the issue is that it is a single event. It’s the same issue for why you can’t run a DFS contest on the Super Bowl alone. You still make a team of players, but it is entirely dependent on a single sporting event.

    I also find the “4 rounds” argument to be weak. To me, that is analogous to claiming that each quarter of a football game is its own event, which if such a claim was made, would bring a Super Bowl contest into the legal realm.

    As many others have said, I too am no lawyer. From my understanding, though, golf’s legality is shaky at best.

    Note: Quoted Al’s post, but addressed several. Not a direct response to Al.

  • windchimesrrude

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    Time to roll out the Nascar/Golf combo leagues. 2pts per position finished down to 43 for nascar, and 1 pt per finish spot down to 86 for golf.

  • sethayates

    When thinking about the legality of DFS it is important to consider that from a lobby standpoint DFS has very few enemies. The problem with online sportsbooks and even online poker was always two big things. 1.) They were not being regulated/taxed 2.) Professional sports (specifically the NFL) are adamantly opposed to sports betting.

    You will never see fantasy football become illegal because season long fantasy football is too popular. The NFL opposes sports betting but supports Fantasy Football. There are not many differences between DFS and season long football. It would be too hard to make DFS illegal but still allow season long leagues.

    So how does all that relate to fantasy golf? To be quite honest golf is just a small niche market especially DFS golf. Who would oppose it? So while DFS Golf may be in a legal grey area I think it is safe to play because it isn’t something that is likely to be targeted by the Department of Justice or a State Attorney General.

    There just isn’t any reason to attack DFS golf. The prize pools aren’t huge and there is also a finite amount that can be wagered (ie: limited amount of games to enter). It isn’t like gambling on DFS golf is ruining people’s lives and there are a bunch of people entering gambling rehab for DFS golf.

    For what it is worth the U.S. has generally become more tolerant of gambling. I live in Ohio which is a pretty conservative state and just last year we opened 5 casinos here. I think within the next 5-10 years just about all forms of gambling will be regulated and legal.

    In a lot of ways the DFS community can be pointed at as a possible model for regulation. The things the sites are voluntarily doing now (example: keeping player money seperate from operating money) to regulate themselves are the same things taht would become law if gambling wer elegal in the U.S.

  • easternmh

    @rotokevin said…

    I still think the issue is that it is a single event. It’s the same issue for why you can’t run a DFS contest on the Super Bowl alone. You still make a team of players, but it is entirely dependent on a single sporting event.

    I also find the “4 rounds” argument to be weak. To me, that is analogous to claiming that each quarter of a football game is its own event, which if such a claim was made, would bring a Super Bowl contest into the legal realm.

    As many others have said, I too am no lawyer. From my understanding, though, golf’s legality is shaky at best.

    Note: Quoted Al’s post, but addressed several. Not a direct response to Al.

    It may be weak but you could say Each quarter in football is the equivalent of 1 hole in each round of golf

    You could argue that each 18 holes of golf or 1 round is one event. 4 rounds is multiple events

    I guess that’s the stance id use

  • JRobs

    DraftKings CEO

    I appreciate the passion that everyone on this forum shows towards DFS and how much people care about protecting the industry. DraftKings’ policy is to not discuss specific legal issues on public forums. As most of you have seen, I am willing to discuss almost anything else, but posts concerning detail on legal matters can run the danger of misinterpretation and being taken out of context. However, I will say that we take every measure possible to thoroughly vet all games we run with our legal team, and generally we err on the side of conservative decision-making when there is any doubt expressed by our counsel. I hope this helps.

  • tipster808

    “generally we err on the side of conservative decision-making…”

    Generally is not exactly the word I was hoping to hear there, especially since I think golf has some legit legal questions related to it. “Bullet proof” would have been preferable.

  • futureoffantasy

    @tipster808 said…

    “generally we err on the side of conservative decision-making…”

    Generally is not exactly the word I was hoping to hear there, especially since I think golf has some legit legal questions related to it. “Bullet proof” would have been preferable.

    This is why they don’t comment on legal issues. He made a perfectly reasonable post saying he wouldn’t comment, and you’ve already taken it out of context. :)

    Don’t hate on the Golf, tipster. Embrace it. Leave all the legal mumbo-jumbo for the lawyers.

  • tipster808

    I’m all for it, I’m even going to play it. But it concerns me. I don’t think sites would hesitate for a moment to spell out to people how NFL or NBA or MLB or NHL is totally legal – they do that all the time. However with golf, I’m less sure anyone wants to do that.

    That doesn’t worry anyone? Maybe worry is too strong, but it at least makes me somewhat concerned.

  • gibbathy

    2014 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year

    I’m not sure why you are so concerned. If you don’t think it is legal then don’t play.

    Are you concerned golf will bring down the whole industry? If so then its ridiculous. If they find golf illegal then sites will just drop it from their game selections.

    Then I will go to a corner and sob like a school girl.

  • whits23

    2010 FFFC Finalist, 2010 DFBC Finalist, 2011 FFFC Finalist, 2014 DSBC Finalist

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    The case for nascar can be made much easier as you have a pit crew etc. Maybe even a team of horses as you have a jockey and a horse. Now having said that can a caddy be a team member and thus its a 2 man team and not an individual.

  • talltimber

    6 players on each team x a possible 72 holes per player = 432 separate events to score points.

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