FanDuel CFO Matt King Dismisses Poker As Gambling

FanDuel and DraftKings are by far the most popular daily fantasy sports sites in the US, and similar to the game of online poker these companies have been doing their utmost to have their industry recognized as a skill-based discipline, separate from gambling. Having DFS games classified in this manner has the benefit of helping operators avoid being labeled as illegal gambling operations, and thus facing a myriad of legal battles across the country.
Unfortunately, it would seem that while FanDuel has been trying hard to have the merits of its argument taken seriously, the company’s CFO Matt King cannot apply the same logic to online poker. In a revealing interview with PBS he insisted that poker is not a game of skill and should therefore be considered as gambling, whereas daily fantasy sports games are skillful, and are at their core an entertainment product.
Needless to say, Matt King’s comments drew an instant reaction from the poker community, with Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas dismissing King’s opinion as not supported by any academic research. As to the gist of his argument, King told PBS:
“The reality is within poker, every time you shuffle the deck, it creates an element of luck that trumps it basically to being much more a chance-dominated game than a skill-dominated game.”
On the other hand, King continued, DFS was “truly a game of skill” in which the more you practice, the better you become. Furthermore, he insists that the DFS industry can sufficiently police itself without regulation as it operates under the “highest degree of integrity”, and besides he knows of no example of young people developing gambling problems as a result of playing daily fantasy sports.
In the meantime, FanDuel is still awaiting the decision on the UK gambling license it applied for back in August 2015, which seems more than a little hypocritical from a firm that is resolute in its belief that fantasy sports betting is unconnected to gambling.

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