DFS Is Gambling, Says Adelson, So Why The RAWA Relief?

Adelson: Fantasy Sports Is Gambling, But It Still Has A Carveout In RAWA

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Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson says daily fantasy sports is gambling. The federal legislation that he champions says it’s not.

So how does that all work, exactly?

Adelson on daily fantasy sports

Adelson made what appear to be his first comments on the DFS industry. They came in the context of his desire to build an NFL stadium in Las Vegas, should the Oakland Raiders relocate to Nevada.

Here is what he said in the interview with Yahoo Finance:

I’ve met with Jerry Jones and I’ve talked to Bobby [Kraft]. Bob is the chairman of the committee for relocation in the NFL. He’s in favor of it. It’s an old wives’ tales that they [the NFL] say gambling is no good. I’ve read that 28 of the 32 teams have interest in fantasy sports. Well, that’s gambling. So 28 teams are involved in gambling.

Interestingly, both Jones and Kraft — the owners of the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, respectively — are invested in DFS operator DraftKings via investment arms.

Adelson’s comments, with a RAWA backdrop

A casino executive saying DFS is gambling is nothing new; most of the land-based gambling industry seems to in lockstep on that.

Most of those gambling interests, however, also want legal clarity on DFS so that they can eventually be involved in the industry.

The dissonance regarding DFS comes from Adelson, who spearheads the federal legislative effort to ban online gambling. That effort — the Restoration of America’s Wire Act — of course, hasn’t picked up much steam other than a handful of hearings held over the years.

Still, that endeavor has featured a carveout for fantasy sports, which would tacitly allow it to continue, at least in terms of federal law.

It’s not clear if Adelson’s stance means that RAWA efforts will now target DFS moving forward, or if the cognitive dissonance between the legislation and his comments will remain.

Image credit: Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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