The National Football League has voted in favor of allowing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, but a handful of teams around the league have made the offseason decision to step away from the world of gambling, at least for now. As many as six different NFL franchises have chosen not to renew their contracts with either FanDuel or DraftKings, according to a report from Yahoo! Finance reporter Daniel Roberts.
In analyzing the decision by the Miami Dolphins to be the lone dissenting voice in the Raiders-To-Las Vegas vote, Roberts reported the Dolphins have recently allowed their contract with DraftKings to expire without a renewal at the end of the 2016 season. The Dolphins were not alone in allowing their contracts with daily fantasy partners to expire either. The Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans all allowed their deals with DraftKings to expire. In addition, the Los Angeles Rams did not renew their contract with FanDuel.
The decisions by all of these teams come at a time when the daily fantasy giants still continue to wage legal battles over the legality of daily sports gambling. The NFL has monitored this development closely, as have other leagues that have deals with either company. DraftKings has also been sued for allegedly not paying invoices, which is always a great concern for potential business partners. The two companies also came together on a merger deal last November, with the merger expected to be completed at some point in 2017. It is possible the six teams not renewing their contracts may be waiting for such a merger to be finalized before coming to terms with a new daily fantasy sponsorship opportunity.
The problem for the NFL is it has taken a pretty hard stance on gambling over the years in the most hypocritical fashion. The league may be against sports gambling, but the daily and weekly injury reports primarily are used to set the betting lines in Las Vegas, which in turns ignites interest in the league. The league is now sending a franchise to Las Vegas while continuing to be anti-gambling. The league has allowed partnerships with daily sports fantasy leagues on the belief daily fantasy leagues is not a form of gambling, which it clearly is.
As for the Dolphins, owner Stephen Ross appears to have a harder line against gambling, which may have been part of the reason he voted “no” on allowing the Raiders a chance to leave Oakland for Las Vegas.
The official response from the Dolphins is gambling concerns had no role in Ross casting the only vote against the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, but as daily fantasy leagues continue to be realized more as a gambling venture, it may be the reason the Dolphins have stepped back from the daily fantasy leagues.