Last year this time, allegations of unfair conduct among daily fantasy sports employees drew the scrutiny of state and federal authorities across the United States. Just as the stigma was wearing off, and regulatory bodies began seeing DFS betting in a positive light, DraftKings is once more embroiled in controversy over possible collusion between players.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the controversy arose immediately after the results of DraftKings famous Fantasy Football Millionaire competition were in, as one of the winners (there were two) of the $1 million GTD first place prize turned out to be 23 year old Martin “papagates” Crowley.
Normally, there would be no significance to his phenomenal performance in the drafting contest, except that in Martin’s case, his very own brother, Tom “chipotleaddict” Crowley, just happens to have won the exact same contest in 2015.
Immediately following the announcement of the winners – which naturally comes with a display of the winner’s drafted picks – other members of DraftKings began posting concerns that Martin’s success wasn’t on the up and up. And according to DraftKings, red flags had already been raised within the software, prompting an investigation before the community ever raised the issue via online forums.
DFS Betting Collusion Controversy
The major concern here was that Martin and Tom Crowley may have colluded, or worked closely together, in making their draft picks, using the dual accounts to avoid any overlap in their picks. To put it simply, they may have come up with more statistically probable winning line-ups than a single account is permitted to post entries for.
By using both of their accounts to submit the entries, with no duplicate line-ups between them, they would have been able to increase the odds of one of them winning the Fantasy Football Millionaire contest. Gaining a strategic advantage against other community members by effectively multi-accounting via collusion is a direct violation the DFS betting site’s terms and conditions.
For the record, each punter may submit a maximum of 150 entries in the contest, at $20 per entry. Martin “papagates” Crowley submitted the max, at a total cost of $3,000.
DraftKings Investigating Crowley’s Win
DraftKings Head of Compliance, Jennifer Aguiar, told the press that the operator updated its user guidelines in August, just before the start of the NFL season, to clarify its stance against inappropriate DFS betting behavior, including collusion with other players. Close cooperation between two players is strictly and expressly prohibited, she said.
“If you are sharing lineups for the purpose of—for the lack of a better word—gaming the system, that is unacceptable,” explained Aguiar.
She and other representatives of the DFS site were unable to provide any specific details, but did confirm that DraftKings is “in the process of an investigation”, and that there’s been no determination of wrongdoing up to this point.
Martin Crowley insisted that he and his brother Tom had not colluded, and that while they do often talk strategy, they never divulge their personal line-ups and had hardly spoken in the week leading up to last month’s Fantasy Football Millionaire contest.
Martin said it’s been “a pretty whirlwind week, as you can imagine”, but that he was “very confident” his name would be cleared of any wrongdoing. “I can understand why people might be concerned,” said Martin, but he vowed his innocence, saying he was “stunned and obviously very upset” over the allegations.