International edition
September 25, 2020

Exclusive interview with Robert Stocker, Member of Dickinson Wright PLLC

“I doubt that Daily Fantasy Sports is ever going to be big in Latin America”

“I doubt that Daily Fantasy Sports is ever going to be big in Latin America”
At the 2016 Peru Gaming Show, Robert Stocker discussed internet gambling and Daily Fantasy Sports. "The merger discussions between FanDuel and DraftKings do not surprise me at all," Stocker said in conversation with Yogonet.
Peru | 07/06/2016

At the 2016 Peru Gaming Show, Robert Stocker discussed internet gambling and Daily Fantasy Sports. "The merger discussions between FanDuel and DraftKings do not surprise me at all," Stocker said in conversation with Yogonet.

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umors say that FanDuel and DraftKings are in talks for a merger that would create one of the world's largest DFS companies. What would the merger mean? What would be the impact on the market?

I've heard rumors of a merger between FanDuel and DraftKings. But when it comes to these big gaming companies, they don't just merge their businesses overnight. There are regulatory and approval processes that need to take place first. The federal government would have to look at the business model and make sure it's legal. Mergers this big have to face several technical issues before going live. Now, that doesn't mean it won't happen. The reality is that both companies are under huge pressure at the moment, and the legal battles they're going through are costing them big bucks in terms of legal fees and PRPs. The merger discussions do not surprise me at all, but there's a long way to go before it happens.

"The way I refer to Brazil is the 'Wild West"

How do you see DFS evolving in Latin America?

I doubt that Daily Fantasy Sports is ever going to be big in Latin America because players already have sports betting available there. Daily Fantasy Sports was designed to get around the fact that with the exceptions of the state of Nevada and pari-mutuel wagering in some states (primarily horse racing) sports betting is not legal in the United States. In the United States the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports is a hot issue. That is why state attorneys general and state legislatures are addressing daily fantasy sports and, as a general rule, either declaring that daily fantasy sports is illegal in their state or, in the alternative, pressing for legislative regulation of daily fantasy sports. Nevada is a leader in addressing the licensing and regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports in that state. What has not yet been definitively addressed is the impact of United States federal law on daily fantasy sports activities.

If you look at some of the advertising campaigns that have been produced for Daily Fantasy Sports, they say something like this: 'If you don't know anything about sports, we will help you out and show you how to do it”. Where is the skill when you have that kind of help being offered to the novice customer. In addition, consumer protection issues have been raised regarding the advertising campaigns that have been reduced by the Daily Fantasy Sports industry. There are three federal grand juries taking a look at the industry. But these are issues that are specific to the United States. None of these issues are really relevant in Latin America for the simple reason that betting on sporting events is generally not prohibited in Latin America. Why play fantasy sports when you can bet on the real thing?.

What are the prospects for online gambling in Peru?

As internet gambling becomes legal on a regional basis, you are going to have international gaming companies that are going to want to get into the business. Major companies do not want to go into the internet if that is going to expose them of being accused of illegal gambling. They do not want to put their licenses at risk. If you legalize and regulate internet gaming properly, the big gaming companies will enter the market and probably ultimately dominate the market for the simple reason that they are highly regulated and represent a safe haven for engaging in gaming activities. Peru is definitely an interesting opportunity for gaming companies, particularly if the regulatory authorities put in place a comprehensive licensing and regulatory system for internet gaming that promotes the integrity of gaming operations. At the Peru Gaming Conference the Peruvian regulatory authorities appeared to understand and recognize the desirability of regulating internet gaming.

Is there potential for growth in Brazil?

The way I refer to Brazil is the 'Wild West'. For big operators, although there's huge opportunity for growth, there's also tremendous risk. For gaming giants, licenses are their most important vehicle, therefore they don't want to risk them. It's very complicated, for they have to be very cautious. They tend to want to stay away completely because it's too much of a risk for them to take. The starting point is passage of a comprehensive gambling bill that puts in place a robust regulatory and licensing system that assures the integrity of gaming operators and the protection of gaming customers.

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