Last week, DraftKings unveiled DraftKings Community Guidelines, which addresses the ethics of fairness and integrity of the leagues. It’s of the same vein as FanDuel’s recently released Bill of Rights, with a focus on how players should and shouldn’t use outside assistance to create their lineups.
As daily fantasy sports moves into a regulated environment that starts to put a focus on the recreational players, sites are making additional efforts to not only further legitimize the games but also make the games more appealing to new and recreational players. The industry is clearly trying to learn from the mistakes of the online poker industry, which early on favored heavy play and profitable players and less on recreational players — those that tend to add new liquidity to DFS sites rather than a frequent withdrawing winnings, only to be taken out of the so-called DFS ecosystem.
For DFS sites, they have attempted to make the games more fun and social and less of a focus on the highly skilled players. This has meant limits on the number of entries into contests, introduction of beginner contests, player badges and so on. The regulations are increasingly asking daily fantasy sites to adopt these policies and DFS sites are coming up with new strategies to not only meet the requirements but also strive towards a more healthy ecosystem.
What’s in the DraftKings Community Guidelines?
DraftKings Community Guidelines are divided into “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behaviors as it relates to the use of tools and strategies at DraftKings. The subject has some fine lines and requires a fair amount of self policing — likely a big part of why DraftKings has released the community guidelines. Some players will find that many of the guidelines to be in the category of common sense while other players will strongly be against some of the guidelines.
DraftKings lists the following Community Guidelines with examples illustrated each of them. Rotogrinders notes that DraftKings have mentioned this is in “phase one” and will add to the Community Guidelines as needed.
- Discuss general strategy around building lineups, stats and the quality of your picks
- Using lineup construction tools from 3rd party fantasy sports websites to help build your lineups.
- Seeking out help from third parties (e.g., coaches or seminars) to learn how to become a better fantasy sports player.
- Agreeing with friends or other fantasy sports players to share winnings (provided that you are not pooling entry fees) in a contest you are both playing in.
- Team-building a lineup, or a set of complementary lineups which serve to work together, to execute a strategy that may create any unfair advantage over individual play.
- Any use of pre-built lineups purchased from 3rd party websites or engaging in the sale of such lineups.
- Entering the maximum number of entries in a contest, type of contest, or event, and having a 3rd party, regardless of their relationship, put in additional entries for you.
- Having another fantasy sports player enter your lineup in a contest against an opponent that has blocked you from competition.
Reaction from the Player Community
Player reaction to the DraftKings community guidelines have been mixed. Many players are happy that DraftKings continues to make adjustments to address many players’ concerns about some daily fantasy sports player practices.
Others say that the moves don’t go far enough or have no teeth, making them nearly impossible to enforce. For example, some are questioning how a site can know for sure whether a player is getting unfair assistance. A strong effort to crack down on team building lineups or using prebuilt lineups would likely result in some false positives.
Another group of players believe that players still need to beat their competition so even if they are using a pre-made lineup or an optimizer, they ultimately still need to win. Some of the more confident players have even noted that they welcome the use of lineup optimizers as it means there are fewer lineups they must beat.
Regardless of how players feel about the changes, we are definitely seeing a concerted effort to get ahead of regulations while appealing to the widest group of players. To do so, DraftKings and other DFS sites must continue the difficult task of balancing and wants and needs of all stakeholders.