Fantasy Sports Cause NFL Owners Conflict

Jake Cooper | 03 Sep 2018

Fantasy Sports Cause NFL Owners ConflictNFL club owners Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, who own the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys respectively, have reportedly not sold their shares in DraftKings, the daily fantasy operator now turned bookmaker. DraftKings recently launched a mobile sports betting app in the State of New Jersey, and as a result, Kraft and Jones are now walking a fine line as far as a conflict of interests is concerned.

Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the National Football League, has confirmed that according to NFL policy regulations, members are allowed to own interests in sports betting endeavours, on condition that the income gained from those endeavours does not exceed a third of the member’s total revenue income.

Operator Turned Bookie

For the moment, the two men are still well within the limits of the provisions, but that may change over the next two or three years. As it stands, fantasy sports are DraftKings’ main generator of income, but sports betting may very occupy that particular slot in the near future. At that point, Kraft and Jones will have to re-evaluate their levels of ownership.

It’s interesting to note that DraftKings Sportsbook has become New Jersey’s very first mobile sportsbook. The operator launched its sportsbook at the beginning of August, as a result of its partnership with the Resorts Casino Hotel.

Headed For Murky Waters

In 2017, gambling consultants Eilers & Krejcik estimated that the revenue income generated by DraftKings from fantasy sports, stood at an annual $218 million. The deciding factor will now be how much the company will end up generating from its newly established sportsbook.

In the event that Kraft and Jones are pressed to divest by selling their stakes in DraftKings, it will be costly move. However, it will be a necessary one according to the policies of the NFL.

The National Football League has long been opposed to sports betting in general, arguing that its very existence threatens true integrity in sports. Barring the fact that its opposing stand has not yielded much in the way of results, it has taken to seeking a share of the revenue generated by sports betting endeavours in the country, as a type of integrity fee. The three other major leagues in the US, the NBA, NHL and MLB, are pressing for the same privilege.