DraftKings CEO to speak at UMass on Tuesday

By Stuart Foster

Official DraftKings Facebook Page
(Official DraftKings Facebook Page)

Jason Robins, CEO of the daily fantasy sports website DraftKings, will speak at the University of Massachusetts in the Mahar Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

It is expected that there will be discussion about the success of DraftKings and of the legal status of daily fantasy sports.

The Boston-based company facilitates online daily fantasy sports. Whereas participants will typically draft players for an entire season during season-long fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports allow participants to draft players for a single day or week.

DraftKings is anticipated to pay out more than $1 billion in prize money in 2015, and has partnerships with American sports leagues such as Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

The ability of participants to make money off of betting on the performance of players selected for only a week has created questions over the amount of skill required to make money off of daily fantasy sports and, as a result of this, whether these contests should be considered gambling.

This is because of a 2006 federal law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which states that fantasy sports are legal because they are a “game of skill”, not a “game of chance” because they are not solely dependent on the outcome of a single event and reflect a level of skill or knowledge held by their participants.

As a result of this, the state of Massachusetts has launched an investigation to determine whether daily fantasy sports are illegal under Massachusetts law.

Stephen McKelvey, an associate professor in the department of sports management, said that the amount of skill reflected in success with daily fantasy sports has not been determined and that this makes the legality of these types of contests unclear.

The Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass said they are trying to have more entrepreneurs and venture capitalists speak on campus.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @Stuart_C_Foster.