It finally happened. After weeks of rumors and years of competition, daily fantasy sports (or D.F.S.) giants FanDuel and DraftKings announced Friday morning that they were merging, pending regulatory approval.
The joint entity does not yet have a name, but control of the company will be split 50/50 split across a nine-person board made up of equal parts FanDuel and DraftKings members, plus one new, independent board member. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins will be CEO; FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles will be chairman.
As ReCode points out, rather than spend money on edging the other guy out, the combined venture can now focus on regulatory battles in states like Texas, Alabama, Nevada, Vermont, and others that consider D.F.S. illegal gambling. It remains a controversial issue, as 57 million people play fantasy sports in one form or another in the U.S. and Canada.
The Internet is what allowed fantasy football and other sports to get that popular. Back in the 1950s, the early days of fantasy sports, forget football, you could only really bet on golf. These days, fans lose their shit if an app crashes, and that's if you can play in your state at all. Of course, there are some good arguments for why some states consider fantasy sports gambling and have cracked down on D.F.S. operations.
"The idea that these sites exist so that regular guys can make a lot of money playing daily fantasy sports is a lie," D.F.S. podcaster Gabriel Harber told the New York Times in January. "FanDuel and DraftKings are optimized for power players to rape and pillage regular players over and over again."
DraftKings and FanDuel have about five million users between them.