- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2017

A merger joining two of the internet’s largest fantasy-sports websites has been put on hold as the Federal Trade Commission is concerned the transaction would violate federal antitrust laws.

“This merger would deprive customers of the substantial benefits of direct competition between DraftKings and FanDuel,” FTC Bureau of Competition acting director Tad Lipsky said in a statement Monday, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. “The FTC is committed to the preservation of competitive markets, which offer consumers the best opportunity to obtain innovative products and services at the most favorable prices and terms consistent with the provision of competitive returns to efficient producers.”

When the companies announced merger plans in mid-November last year, the New York Times described the union as a marriage of necessity in large part due to ongoing and costly tangles with regulators and legislators who considered the operations to be gambling rather than games of skill.

Indeed, only 13 U.S. states expressly allow online fantasy-sports gaming, according to ESPN, while many states have laws on the books that are hazy on the matter, often depending how a regulatory authority defines gambling. According to ESPN, FanDuel will not accept customers in 11 states, DraftKings in 10.

The L.A. Daily News reported that both companies will continue operating separately for the time being and that it’s unlikely a merger will take place ahead of this year’s NFL season, the daily fantasy industry’s most lucrative time of year.

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