One major way fantasy football is about to change after this week's scandal

Richard ShermanOtto Greule Jr / GettyRichard Sherman.

This has a been a crazy week for daily fantasy sports, or DFS. 

The industry, which is projected to bring in $US14 billion in revenue by 2020, has been under scrutiny after DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell was accused of “inadvertently“releasing sensitive data about a large tournament in the same week that he reportedly won $US350,000 on DraftKings’ rival site FanDuel.

Even more alarming: DraftKings employees reportedly won nearly $US6 million playing at FanDuel

Today, the industry is taking steps to end that kind of unfair cross-play.

FanDuel made an official decision on Wednesday.

“We have permanently banned our employees from playing any daily fantasy games for money, on any site,” the company said in a statement to the press. “We will also require all customers to confirm that they are not an employee of any other third party fantasy site, and if they are, they will not be allowed to access our site.

They have also asked a former US attorney general to evaluate their standards and practices and created an advisory board with a former US attorney

The scandal was first reported last week on the industry blog DFS Report and then broken open by the New York Times on Monday night. In DFS, you “draft” a team of players for just one week, and if your team does better than your opponents’ teams, you win.

The story has made it all the way to Capitol Hill, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid reportedly saying that “
there’s absolutely scandalous conduct taking place” in fantasy sports and Congress should examine its legality.

Yesterday, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association trade group, FanDuel, and DraftKings issued a joint statement saying that the incident with Haskell had “sparked a conversation” about where industry employees should be able to play on competitor’s sites.  

DraftKings has previously said that it’s decided to “prohibit employees from participating in online fantasy sports contests for money,” and Tech Insider has reached out to see if it’s permanent. 

What’s this mean? Given how remarkably skill-based the game is, DFS will still strongly favour the expert “shark” players over the novice “fish” players — but it looks like DFS is about to get less incestuous. At least in theory, instead of the DraftKings and FanDuel employees taking home prize money, it will be users. 

 Just how much that actually cuts down on the “shark vs. fish” scenario that dominates DFS remains to be seen, since experts say that it’s the nature of the game.

But the ban on employee play certainly can’t be bad news for regular people playing the game. If data on rosters is floating around as loosely within organisations as people like LegalSportsReport editor Chris Grove have speculated, then that’s a huge advantage over over non-employee users.

So this move could — possibly — work towards evening the fantasy playing field.

If you’re still in the dark about how daily fantasy football works, we’ve made this handy infographic:

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