FTC: Fan­tasy-sports merger would vi­o­late anti-trust laws

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS -

A merger joining two of the in­ter­net’s largest fan­tasy-sports web­sites has been put on hold as the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion is con­cerned the trans­ac­tion would vi­o­late fed­eral an­titrust laws.

“This merger would de­prive cus­tomers of the sub­stan­tial ben­e­fits of di­rect com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Draft-Kings and FanDuel,” FTC Bureau of Com­pe­ti­tion act­ing di­rec­tor Tad Lip­sky said in a state­ment Mon­day, the Los An­ge­les Daily News re­ported. “The FTC is com­mit­ted to the preser­va­tion of com­pet­i­tive mar­kets, which of­fer con­sumers the best op­por­tu­nity to ob­tain in­no­va­tive prod­ucts and ser­vices at the most fa­vor­able prices and terms con­sis­tent with the pro­vi­sion of com­pet­i­tive re­turns to ef­fi­cient pro­duc­ers.”

When the com­pa­nies an­nounced merger plans in mid-Novem­ber last year, the New York Times de­scribed the union as a mar­riage of ne­ces­sity in large part due to on­go­ing and costly tan­gles with reg­u­la­tors and leg­is­la­tors who con­sid­ered the oper­a­tions to be gam­bling rather than games of skill.

In­deed, only 13 U.S. states ex­pressly al­low on­line fan­tasy-sports gam­ing, ac­cord­ing to ESPN, while many states have laws on the books that are hazy on the mat­ter, often de­pend­ing how a reg­u­la­tory author­ity de­fines gam­bling. Ac­cord­ing to ESPN, FanDuel will not ac­cept cus­tomers in 11 states, DraftKings in 10.

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