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Allegations that winning brothers colluded in million dollar daily fantasy sports competition.
The stigma of cheating has surfaced again in the daily fantasy sports sector following allegations that two players colluded in a million dollar contest at DraftKings.
The operator has confirmed that it is investigating the conduct of two winners in its “Fantasy Football Millionaire” competitions.
The allegations involve two brothers, and centre on the fact that one of them enjoyed success in this years competition, whilst the other won last year in the same contest, suggesting some collusion, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
DraftKings has tasked its newly-created game-integrity department with the investigation but has declined to provide any details on the allegations.
“We are in the process of an ongoing investigation,” said Jennifer Aguiar, the DraftKings head of compliance, emphasising that it has not yet been determined whether wrongdoing took place.
The company is sensitive to such issues following the furore eighteen months ago over alleged "insider" cheating by a DraftKings staffer playing and winning a substantial sum of money on rival FanDuels site.
The Journal notes that the DraftKings probe appears to be focused on whether at least one winner of Sunday’s contest found ways around the site’s limits on how many entries each user can submit and the level of cooperation they can have with other players.
There were almost 257,000 entries in this week’s “Fantasy Football Millionaire” contest, at $20 apiece, creating a prize pool of $4,444,444 and a first prize of $1 million. Participants in the contest picked line-ups of National Football League players and the teams that accumulated the most points based on real-world results won prizes.
Soon after the contest ended, industry message boards and social media sites lit up with questions regarding a player identified as “papagates,”and his relationship to another top player who last year won the Millionaire contest.
Many of the posts claimed that analysis of the line-ups submitted by the two winning players suggest that they shared information to avoid any overlap.
Aguiar told the WSJ that user guidelines posted in August to clarify the rules, expressly prohibit close cooperation among players.
“If you are sharing line-ups for the purpose of - for the lack of a better word - gaming the system, that is unacceptable,” she said.
The “papagates” username is affiliated with one Martin Crowley, a 23-year-old from Chicago, who said in an interview that he was “very confident” he would be cleared, and that he had provided DraftKings with records showing he conducted his own research and didn’t collude with his brother.
The two often discuss general strategy but not specific line-ups he claimed.
DraftKings officials said the site’s internal systems flagged the possible issues in the contest before the issue blew up online. They said the company’s response shows the site’s commitment to fair play and the value of making line-up information publicly available.
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