DraftKings, FanDuel to suspend involvement in college sports

Daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel both said Thursday they will suspend involvement in college-levels sports following the close of this year’s March Madness college basketball tournament.

The move comes on the heels of the daily fantasy sports, or DFS, sites agreeing to shut down in New York as part of a settlement with that state’s attorney general’s office. DFS sites allow members to build lineups of athletes and pay to compete for cash prizes based on the performance of those lineups.

The sites have come under fire from critics who say daily fantasy sports is akin to gambling, a charge that both DraftKings and FanDuel deny, saying their games are based on skill rather than chance.

In a statement Thursday, DraftKings said it would “indefinitely suspend” its involvement with college sports after the conclusion of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball tournament — popularly known as March Madness — that ends on April 4. The final two teams will be decided this Saturday after the Villanova Wildcats play the Oklahoma Sooners, and the North Carolina Tar Heels play the Syracuse Orange.

“There are many passionate DFS players who love college sports, but after a productive dialogue with the NCAA, their member institutions and lawmakers, we feel that this is the best path forward for the industry at this time,” DraftKings said.

In its statement, FanDuel said the action came after months of discussions with the NCAA and various state legislators to address “concerns around fantasy sports contests based on amateur athletics.”

“It is clear that this is an issue that matters to a variety of constituencies and we feel that the best path forward is to suspend offering these contests pending resolution on the issue within state legislatures,” FanDuel said.

Read: How not to be a ‘sucker’ on FanDuel or DraftKings

In mid-March, the American Gaming Association estimated that Americans would bet about $9.2 billion this year on March Madness through various outlets like sports books, office pools and the like. Only about $262 million of that will be wagered at Nevada sports books, according to AGA.

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