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DraftKings and FanDuel defend integrity of fantasy sports industry

DraftKings and FanDuel defend integrity of fantasy sports industry
DraftKingsemployees workat the company's offices in Boston last month. (Stephan Savoia / Associated Press)

As anyone knows who has watched a single commercial break during NFL football this season, DraftKings and FanDuel are fierce competitors with one another in the multibillion-dollar world of fantasy sports.

But a potential scandal within the still-growing industry forced the two rival companies Monday to release a joint statement, meant to ease concerns that employees are using information not available to the general public to win big on other online fantasy sites.

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Last week DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell admitted to inadvertantly releasing company data that showed which NFL players were most used in lineups submitted to a site contest called Millionaire Maker. Haskell won $350,000 on FanDuel that same week.

"It is absolutely akin to insider trading," Daniel Wallach, a sports and gambling lawyer told the New York Times. "It gives that person a distinct edge in a contest."

Such reactions prompted Monday's rare joint statement.

"Nothing is more important to DraftKings and FanDuel than the integrity of the games we offer to our customers," it reads. "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."

A spokesperson told the New York Times that DraftKings believes Haskell released the information accidentally and that he did not use it improperly.

Employees of both companies are not allowed to take part in the action on their own company sites and, as of late Monday, were temporarily prohibited from participating on other fantasy sites, the New York Times reports.

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