After spending the past few years rumbling to record profits like an unregulated Devonta Freeman, it appears the good times are coming to an end for daily fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel.
Already rocked by reports of insider trading by employees, the sites – which promise maximum payouts and minimal commitment – are now being investigated by the FBI and, as of Thursday, prohibited from doing business in Nevada, after the state’s Gaming Control Board ruled daily fantasy is a form of unlicensed gambling. And not content to be left standing on the sidelines, The Daily Show is piling on, too.
On Thursday night’s episode, Trevor Noah tackled the growing controversy surrounding the sites, kicking things off with a well-deserved dig at DraftKings and FanDuel’s seemingly endless stream of commercials, which clog ESPN, every second of NFL football and our immortal souls.
“These days, it feels like you can’t turn on the TV without seeing one of three things: A Zombie, A Kardashian or a fantasy football ad,” Noah joked, noting that the reported 22,000 airings of DraftKings commercials since August 1, “[Is] almost as many times as I’ve seen Titanic in theaters.”
The show also investigated just how DraftKings and FanDuel are allowed to circumvent federal laws that prohibit online gambling – it’s thanks to a loophole known as the “fantasy sports carveout” – and wondered aloud how they’re any different from the stock market, especially given the insider deals and the use of advanced algorithms to gain a competitive advantage. And to emphasize that point, they rolled a package showing so-called “fantasy experts” on ESPN and the NFL Network using no shortage of trading terms, including “buying low and selling high.”
Of course, for avid players of daily fantasy, this kind of scrutiny is unwelcome – not just because it threatens to shut down newfound sources of income. Turns out, it’s really ruining their Sundays, too, as contributor Jordan Klepper – decked out in a football jersey, beer in hand – angrily explained.
“What are you doing? Trying to regulate my joy? You’ll have to pry my fantasy league from my cold, dead hands,” he shouted. “If I had no money at stake, I’d just have to watch grown men gradually give each other brain damage. Sick.”