The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry’s best shot of maintaining viability in the US market rests squarely on defining itself as something other than another form of gambling.

That gambling label isn’t such a burden for the industry’s UK and European arms, where the gambling label is worn without shame. At the same time, the industry’s international embrace of regulated gaming could cause it big troubles in its efforts to remain within the boundaries of the UIGEA’s fantasy sports exemption.

In the minds of DFS executives, the gambling label is something that doesn’t carry over from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In an interview with the Associated Press, Jeffrey Haas, chief international officer for DraftKings explained why DFS could be gambling in the UK, but not in the US saying:

Our product is a game of skill. In order to be successful, you need to apply your skill in order to have the best lineups to go into our contests to win. Nevertheless, our games of skill are looked at differently by regulators in different jurisdictions around the world.

While that reasoning may make sense to the CIO of an international daily fantasy sports site, it doesn’t pass the sniff test with most of the rest of us, including the massive company’s international competitors.

Shergul Arshad, founder of Mondogoal, a UK DraftKings competitor, called out Haas’ logic saying:

It’s pretty naive to go get gambling licenses in the U.K. and expect people to believe you’re not gambling.

Jurisdictional differences on the meaning of gambling are just one more problem the beleaguered DFS industry will have to deal with in the months to come.


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