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Did DraftKings Employee Use Insider Information To Win An Insane Amount of Money?

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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DraftKings writer Ethan Haskell won $350,000 on a $25 bet playing a game on rival site FanDuel, but it now appears that Haskell might have had inside information on which players gave him the best chance to win.

Haskell received the information from work at DraftKings and may have applied his newfound knowledge when playing at FanDuel, according to Deadspin.

Haskell played in the Guaranteed Prize Pool, also referred to as the GPP, which isn’t against the rules for DraftKings employees to compete in a rival pool. According to Deadspin, the concept of playing is very simple:

Winning a contest like Millionaire Maker, which has hundreds of thousands of participants, is less about buying up the best players than about finding market inefficiencies and selecting players who will help the fewest amount of your competitors while running cheap relative to their production. (This is basic tournament strategy; it’s the same reason you’re discouraged from picking all chalk in a large March Madness pool.) Thus, when you select a lineup, you have to try, blindly, to determine both the bargain value and how under-the-radar your lineup will fly.

According to RotoGrinders co-founder Cal Spears, Haskell did not have access to the advantageous information before he registered to play with FanDuel. This claim is allegedly corroborated by a DraftKings executive.

DraftKings and FanDuel released the following joint statement on the issue:

Nothing is more important to DraftKings and FanDuel than the integrity of the games we offer to our customers. Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it.

However, we continue to review our internal controls to ensure they are as strong as they can be. We also plan to work with the entire fantasy sports industry on this specific issue so that fans everywhere can continue to enjoy and trust the games they love.

Because sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are classified as skill base games instead of gambling there isn’t a ton of federal regulation. However, there are some in Congress that are trying to change that. New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone has called for a hearing to determine the legality of sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. He has tried to argue that any online gaming that allows payouts is considered gambling and thus prohibited under federal law. (RELATED: Dem Congressman Declares War On Fun, Calls For Hearing On Fantasy Football)

FanDuel and DraftKings have not said if they will change a policy to reflect Haskell’s winning incident.

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