Civil Rights Activist Rev. Al Sharpton Raises Concerns Over DraftKings and FanDuel “Gambling Duopoly”

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Renowned civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton has penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), expressing concerns about what he describes as a “gambling duopoly” controlled by DraftKings and FanDuel. In the letter addressed to FTC Chair Lina Khan, Sharpton raises alarms about the potential disproportionate impact of this dominance on Black Americans, including Black athletes.

Threats to competition and consumer protection:

Sharpton’s letter, obtained by USA TODAY, highlights the alarming market share held by DraftKings and FanDuel in the online sports betting industry. He underscores the combined dominance of these platforms, which control approximately 75% of the mobile sports betting market as of September 2023. With the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA) further consolidating its influence, the market share could be as high as 90%, posing significant threats to competition, fairness, and consumer protection.

The civil rights advocate emphasizes the demographic profile of the user base of these platforms, noting a significant portion of Black Americans among their consumers. Sharpton expresses concerns that the establishment of a duopoly in the online sports betting market could disproportionately harm Black Americans, who are more likely to engage in sports betting compared to other demographic groups.

Sharpton urges the FTC to intervene and investigate the anti-competitive behavior of DraftKings, FanDuel, and their affiliated companies to safeguard consumer interests, particularly those of Black Americans. He references past FTC actions, including efforts to block the merger of DraftKings and FanDuel in 2017, emphasizing the importance of preserving competitive markets for consumer benefit.

Multidimensional challenges in the gambling industry:

The concerns raised by Sharpton underscore the multidimensional challenges inherent in the gambling industry. Beyond issues of competition and consumer protection, he highlights the intersecting dynamics of race and sports betting, emphasizing the potential adverse effects on Black athletes and consumers if unchecked.

In conclusion, Sharpton’s letter serves as a call to action for the FTC to address the growing dominance of DraftKings and FanDuel in the online sports betting market. By investigating potential anti-competitive practices, the FTC can ensure a level playing field that promotes innovation, value, and consumer protection for all, especially Black Americans.

Sharpton’s advocacy builds on a legacy of civil rights activism aimed at combating systemic inequities. By addressing issues of economic and social justice in the context of the gambling industry, he continues to champion the rights of marginalized communities and advocate for fair treatment under the law.

As discussions surrounding online sports betting regulation continue, Sharpton’s advocacy serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of equity and fairness in shaping regulatory frameworks. By centering the voices of marginalized communities and advocating for their interests, policymakers can work toward a more equitable and inclusive future for all stakeholders in the gambling industry.

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