Friday, October 16, 2015

This Weekend's Starting Lineup

I will be skipping Saturday (tomorrow) due to the last two weekends, so even if I buy a paper there will be no Slow Saturday Specials. I may do a Next Day Update below tomorrow morning; however, I decided to do a sneak peek and may have preemptively taken care of it so don't expect one:

Jeb Defends Brother on Trump's 9/11 Charges

That intrigued me when I logged on this evening, wondering if Trump is a secret 9/11 truther?  

Not that it matters; turns out the campaign is all aboutratings and the ride has been a good one for media companies, which have capitalized with a rise in Nielsen ratings, which helps drive up ad revenue.”

I have watched maybe a handful of minutes if even that. I don't like throwing up which is why I'm going to bypass the political brick-a-crap (as if truths were also to be found there and other places in my pos paper). I'm tired of political celebrity. Or is it celebrity politics, and what's the difference?

Donald Trump holding rally in Tyngsborough tonight

He's been here before, and the Globe ran him out of town!

Clinton takes in big money from drug industry

Why not? She looks like she is on enough of them.

Poll finds Clinton, Sanders in dead heat in N.H.

And from what I have been told, Bernie doesn't take that dough (even if he is talking out of his ass to get votes) and yet he's dropped in the polls? Must have been the debate.

Time to catch a ride out of Bo$ton:

MBTA considers parking, fare hikes to boost revenue

Keolis lost $19.4m in first half of 2015

Doubled its losses, and I'm sure the fines over the winter hardly helped.

Lamar Odom woke up and spoke, aunt’s spokeswoman says

Who is Lamar Odom, and why should I care?

Robert Kraft and girlfriend Ricki Lander taking a break?

Thankfully things may indeed have cooled between the two.

Foul play not suspected in death of hiker in Maine

Still a mystery.

Body found in N.H. believed to be missing Westwood woman

Lululemon deals draw thousands to Boston warehouse sale 

Remember when they sold all the see-through merchandise by "mistake."

BPL fires employee who oversaw misfiled prints

I couldn't find any links for that.

Great new Boston-area bars for grown-ups; Local night life isn’t only about catering to college students anymore.

After the Globe has been telling us the new Bo$ton is being built around millennial professionals, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Fearful of injuries, a Maine high school cancels football


Week 6 high school football updates Live

DraftKings, top Nevada gaming official trade barbs after ban

I can't remember the last time I fielded a team:

"FBI said to be investigating DraftKings" by Callum Borchers and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  October 15, 2015

The FBI and the US attorney’s office in Boston have launched an investigation into whether DraftKings Inc. and other fantasy sports operators are violating federal gambling laws, according to a person familiar with the probe.

The investigation is in the beginning stages, the person said Wednesday night.

A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office said it could not confirm or deny the investigation.

Daily fantasy sports have been under scrutiny in recent weeks, with elected officials and lawmakers in several states calling for probes into the legality of the practice. But the new investigation marks the first time the federal government has officially begun to evaluate the industry’s legal status.

Boston-based DraftKings issued a statement late Wednesday saying “it is entirely predictable that the government would follow up on the misleading reports about our industry.”

“We have no knowledge of the specifics of any federal investigation but strongly disagree with any notion that our company has engaged in any illegal activities,” said the business, which has grown to more than 270 employees in three years.

DraftKings’ top rival, New York-based FanDuel Inc., declined to comment.

Customers of DraftKings have been contacted by FBI agents from the Boston office, according to The Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report the investigation.

Gambling has been a focal point for Ortiz’s office in recent years. In the most prominent case, in 2010, Ortiz charged the wife of then-US Representative John F. Tierney with helping her brother manage the profits of an illegal offshore gambling enterprise. Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.

Daily fantasy sports contests generally require entrants to pay for a chance to win cash prizes — a system that recently prompted Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and US Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, to question whether the companies should be considered illegal online gambling outfits. Healey has also reached out to DraftKings and FanDuel to discuss what steps the websites are taking to protect customers.

A recent data leak that raised questions about the integrity of cash contests also led New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to open an investigation into whether the companies’ employees have access to player data that gives them an unfair advantage when they enter contests.

DraftKings and FanDuel, which together have raised more than $700 million in venture capital, maintain that in all but a handful of states their contests are legal, based on an exemption to the federal Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006.

The law distinguishes between betting on point spreads and entering fantasy sports contests that “reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants.”

However, a former US representative, Jim Leach of Iowa, who coauthored the gambling act, said that he and other lawmakers could not have imagined at the time what fantasy sports would become and never intended to sanction the kinds of high-stakes contests now offered regularly.

And now they want their cut.

Top prizes on DraftKings and FanDuel, which did not exist when the law was written, routinely top $1 million, and the companies have said they expect to pay out more than $3 billion in combined winnings this year.

Participation in fantasy sports leagues has more than tripled in the nine years since the gambling law was passed, to 57 million people in North America, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

That's a lot of people.

In fantasy football contests, DraftKings and FanDuel users draft real NFL players for their imaginary teams and score points based on how well those players perform on the field.

Leach said the fantasy exemption, favored by professional sports leagues like the NFL and by Major League Baseball, was included to speed passage of the law.

“Concern was raised that we faced an amendment process that we could lose control of if no accommodation was made for fantasy sports,” said Leach, now a law professor at the University of Iowa. “Concern was also expressed that if the committee did not accommodate the concerns of the amendment’s advocates, we might not carry the floor vote, and even if we did, might have to deal with a delaying Senate amendment on the subject.”

Last week, DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins told the Globe that his company will comply with any new regulations that might be placed on the fantasy sports industry.

“Whatever the government wants to do, we have to accept it,” he said. “It’s not a choice we have.” But Robins contended that external checks are not needed to ensure the integrity of the contests.

The leak that caused so much uproar, he insisted, did not factor into a DraftKings employee’s $350,000 payday on FanDuel. The employee, Ethan Haskell, posted a data table showing the rates at which real NFL players had been selected for fantasy teams before contest entries were locked in on DraftKings.

However, an internal investigation concluded Haskell gained access to the data only after submitting final picks for the contest he entered on FanDuel, which had an earlier deadline.

Still, Haskell’s leak and subsequent winnings prompted questions about whether employees of fantasy sports companies might have an edge when playing against the crowd. In response, DraftKings and FanDuel banned workers from entering cash games on any site. The companies previously barred employees from playing on their own sites.

Pretty much an admission of guilt, and we have had no information on winners coming forth, have we?

David Kaplen, a San Antonio man who quit his job as a restaurant manager to play fantasy sports full time in 2009, said he “never felt violated” by the participation of DraftKings and FanDuel employees. But he feels better knowing they are no longer playing against him.

“You have to decide which side you’re on,” said Kaplen, 41. “Are you going to work for one of the companies or are you going to play? You can’t have it both ways.”


That's the end of the first half.

"Nevada orders fantasy sports sites to shut down; DraftKings, FanDuel ruled to be gambling" by Callum Borchers and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  October 15, 2015

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, regulator of the nation’s gambling mecca, ruled Thursday that daily fantasy sports contests like those from Draft-Kings Inc. and FanDuel Inc. will be banned there unless the companies obtain gambling licenses.

The decision dealt yet another blow to a beleaguered industry that has rejected the gambling label, insisting that an exception in federal law lets fantasy sports operate as a game of skill.

The TV commercials are still running strong. Must be trying to make as much money as they can before the golden goose craps out.

DraftKings and FanDuel now confront what would appear to be a no-win proposition: Acknowledge what the casino industry has said all along, that their system of paid entries and cash prizes is, in fact, gambling, or get out of Nevada.

The two sites released separate statements Thursday night in which they said they disagreed with the gaming commission’s decision but they would temporarily suspend operations in Nevada.

“It figures Nevada would do this — casinos have been screaming for it,” said Richard McGowan, a Boston College professor who studies gambling. “I’d probably walk away from Nevada. You don’t want to admit you’re gambling. What a precedent that would set.” 

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em....!!♫

A month ago, at the start of the NFL season, the only battle for DraftKings and FanDuel was with one another over who would dominate the industry.

But in a rapid-fire reversal, the competing firms are now fending off serious opponents on multiple fronts: an investigation by the FBI and US attorney’s office in Boston, reports of a grand jury investigation in Florida, calls for hearings by members of Congress, and inquiries by attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts.

They call it momentum.

A fast-growing industry on the verge of mainstream popularity — backed by the likes of Major League Baseball and Comcast Inc. — suddenly faces what some specialists believe to be an existential threat. 

Seems to be a theme.

“This is the real deal; this is Black Friday-type stuff,” said Marc Dunbar, a partner in the government relations practice at the law firm Jones Walker LLP in Tallahassee, Fla. “I worry that next football season this industry isn’t going to exist.”

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates 57 million people in North America participate in some form of fantasy sports.

Several attorneys whose work centers on gambling said a recent wave of national commercials could prove to be fantasy sports’ undoing. While the system of cash contests hadn’t escaped scrutiny before then, the ad war between DraftKings and FanDuel practically begged for a closer look at their business models, which are built on a loophole in federal law. 

They beat themselves with turnovers.

“They invited this attention,” said Keith Miller, a law professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, who has written about gambling regulations. “Now it seems like the wheels have fallen off in a very short period of time.”

Gotta a bad football team here.

Fantasy sports contests on DraftKings and FanDuel are shorter than traditional, season-long competitions (hence the “daily” label) and typically charge entry fees for a chance to win cash prizes, some of which exceed $1 million. Players compete by creating imaginary rosters of real athletes and score points when their selections perform well in games.

Like true general managers, fantasy contestants are bound by salary caps that prevent them from simply assembling all-star teams. The key to winning is often identifying unheralded athletes who are poised to break out.

Which is what I'm about to do.


Martin G. Weinberg, a Boston criminal defense lawyer who has represented Internet sports gamblers, said the federal investigation into DraftKings and other fantasy sports companies is venturing into uncharted legal territory.

The trouble started in September, when a DraftKings employee prematurely posted information that could have given some players an advantage. That sparked speculation that insiders had access to information that could give them an edge in their own games.

Making matters worse, the same employee won $350,000 on FanDuel the same week.

The furor only escalated from there. Class-action lawsuits in Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and Louisiana allege that ordinary players were cheated by insiders.


Regulators are looking into whether there are adequate customer protections. And law enforcement agencies are probing whether the companies or their employees are violating existing laws.

“Put aside the issue of whether this is gambling,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who wrote a letter on Monday calling for the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the industry. “The allegations here are about fraud across state lines, which is prohibited whether it’s skill or chance or something else.”

An aide to the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is expected to hold hearings on the fantasy industry, said the new reports “raise additional questions about the safety, fairness, and integrity of these new platforms for fan engagement” and that the committee would investigate them.

Despite big-name hires and the backing of influential investors, DraftKings and FanDuel probably face too much pressure from too many angles to avoid some degree of damage, said Daniel Wallach, a gambling and sports law attorney at Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“They are surrounded,” said Wallach, who was first to report, via Twitter, that the US attorney’s office in Tampa is convening a grand jury. “A year from now, we’re going to be in a highly regulated environment, and the fantasy industry and sports leagues won’t be powerful enough to stop it.”

This game sucks!

Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League all own equity stakes in either DraftKings or FanDuel, which together expect to pay out more than $3 billion in prize money this year.

Weinberg, the Boston lawyer who has defended Internet gamblers, said in the coming days, the greatest concern for fantasy sports companies may not be a prosecution, but rather the possibility that a prosecutor will try to shut them down....

And have 57 million angry protesters outside his office? 

I think not.


Maybe you would rather play the slots, 'eh?

I put those up because I won't be here Sunday either. I will have to check back on Monday to see the stats.

Ninth Mass. resident diagnosed with West Nile virus

Freezing temperatures coming already?


I didn't want you to miss the Good Life.

"Heat rises on sports fantasy betting games" by Dan Adams Globe Correspondent  October 16, 2015

Another state on Friday indicated its regulators believe fantasy sports contests such as those run by Boston-based DraftKings are illegal gambling operations, as pressure from federal investigators increased on the fast-growing, online industry.

The Illinois Gaming Board told the Associated Press it believes DraftKings and FanDuel are probably illegal in that state.

A.G. Burnett, chairman of the gaming board, acknowledged that he has received angry responses to the board’s decision from Nevada players of daily fantasy sports contests. He said he was e-mailed an expletive-laced tirade from one player who complained that his life had been ruined and that he now had nothing to do....

Isn't that “kind of sad?”  

Sure is taking the look of addiction, isn't it?


Also see:

BPL fires employee who oversaw misfiled prints

Lululemon deals draw thousands to Boston warehouse sale

Steve Ballmer says He Has Acquired a 4% Stake in Twitter

US appeals court rules in favor of Google’s online library

J&J defeats first lawsuit on Tylenol’s link to liver damage

FTC reviewing VW’s ‘Clean Diesel’ ads for fraudulent claims

GE beats forecasts as it refocuses on industry

Body found in N.H. believed to be missing Westwood woman

New hikers’ hut in White Mountains deserves approval

"Foul play not suspected in death of hiker in Maine" by Kathryn Miles Globe Correspondent  October 16, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine —  Geraldine Largay, the hiker who vanished from the Appalachian Trail in western Maine in July 2013, was found in Redington Township, approximately 3,000 feet off the trail in an area within the boundaries of a US Navy survival school.

It appears that she wandered off the trail approximately 2½ miles north of the shelter in an area used by the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School.

Maine Warden Service Lieutenant Kevin Adam said at a news conference said the area was clearly marked as Navy property. Public access is prohibited.

Her body was found Wednesday, along with a number of Largay’s belongings, by an independent contractor conducting an environmental survey on the Navy property.

Because of the location of her remains, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent is working in conjunction with the warden service on the investigation.

Authorities said the family did not want to comment about the case.

“You never want a search to end this way,” Adam said. “Everybody wanted to find Gerry. It was a great effort and we’ll learn a lot from this search.”


I suppose the mystery is solved, although one can not help wonder if some federal agent killed her.

Keolis lost $19.4m in first half of 2015

MBTA considers parking, fare hikes to boost revenue

Two in custody after gunfight outside Forest Hills station

That last one didn't make the web.