You only need to watch about five minutes of sports content right now to get a feel for the amount of money connected to daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. It seems every other commercial, during prime events, is for one of them. Prize money is being awarded in the millions. Nearly every league and media outlet is riding the wave, either as an investor, a beneficiary of the advertising deluge, or both.
So it’s easy to be cynical about the role public opinion will play in the future of this burgeoning industry. When so much money is at stake, companies have a knack of turning a deaf ear to Average Joe and Average Jane. But we figured we’d ask anyway.
Beginning Monday October 5, CivicScience began surveying a representative sample of US adults, asking first whether they believed sites like DraftKings and FanDuel should be viewed as gambling enterprises and regulated accordingly. Here’s what our first wave of 1,775 respondents had to say:
Whoa. It’s not even close. 49% of Americans believe that daily fantasy sites should be treated like other forms of gambling. Only 10% disagree.
Association with gambling, however, is only part of DraftKings’ and FanDuels’ troubles at the moment. Recent allegations of “insider trading” – namely, employees of the companies using privileged information to game the system – raised new questions about the ethics and public perception of the sites. Two days later, what do people think? See for yourself.
No editorializing necessary. The numbers speak for themselves.
What will all of this mean to the future of these sites? Perhaps nothing. Avid fantasy players and sports gambling enthusiasts aren’t likely to be scared off, so long as they continue to enjoy the experience. A handful of legislators and other government officials will probably go on a crusade, particularly in a major election year, but the lobbying clout behind the sites, their investors, and media partners is formidable to say the least.
Let’s just say that if you were betting on the success of a hypothetical public referendum on the matter, there would be runaway odds.