Founder says consumer protection required
FanDuel chief Eccles: fantasy sports ‘will be regulated’
In an online interview, Mr Eccles (pictured) defended the sector as “a game of skill” but said it has developed from a “small unregulated market to a large unregulated market”.
In a podcast produced in California he said: “We were saying we were going to become regulated and we were just going to have to figure out how that is going to happen.
“I wrote the regulations for a trade association and everyone signed up. It kind of worked for a couple of years but from October it became apparent we needed state-by-state regulation with consumer protection. We knew it was going to happen, we just didn’t know how.”
His comments follow several months of battling with states over the legality of fantasy sports games which critics claim are a breach of US laws banning online gambling.
He said the advertising blitz by the big players had put the regulatory issue on the radar, but when they approached the regulators to say there was a need for consumer protection they were told “nobody cares”.
The company is now in talks with a number of state legislators and Mr Eccles said progress was being made. There had been a negative response from New York, Illinois and Texas but other states such as Maryland, Kansas and Massachusetts were more positive.
He said the decision by some payments processing companies to stop handling customers had not had any impact on the business.
“Everyone seems to have lost perspective. This is just a game, it’s fun. We will bring this out in our marketing” he said.
FanDuel is co-headquartered in Edinburgh and New York and derives all its revenue from the US where he said the fantasy games sector is worth $2 billion in entry fees and $200m in revenues.
Mr Eccles declined to say how much revenue FanDuel has generated. He said the average entry fee per player is just $2.