Daily fantasy sports — “If you own a television, you cannot have missed their ads,” intro’s John Oliver to kick off his main “Last Week Tonight” segment Sunday (Nov. 15).

Oliver does an excellent job of breaking down the problem with daily fantasy sports on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings, which is that fantasy sports are an exception in gambling laws but that exception was created back when fantasy sports were “just those office things that you lost to Janice in accounting.”

The CEOs of these multi-billion dollar sites insist their games are “entertainment products,” so that means they aren’t gambling.

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“You know what else is an entertainment product? Gambling. Gambling is incredibly entertaining, until of course you’re down $15,000 to a Russian ‘entertainment’ syndicate,” says Oliver.

The late-night host cites statistics like the fact that most of the money won via these sites is won by the top one percent of the players, and one very successful daily fantasy player has earned his winning by fanatically tracking sports statistics and plugging them into a complex algorithm.

Oliver says it’s fine if these sites are gambling, but they need to just admit it so that they can be regulated.

“If we’re going to de facto legalize sports gambling across the U.S., we should at least do it on purpose and not because two companies have somehow weasled out a way to pretend that they are not something that they clearly are,” says Oliver. “Because gambling enterprises, wherever they are legal, are regulated to protect people and that’s going to need to happen here.”

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“Until such time, if they’re going to keep bombarding us with those ads, they should at least make them a little more honest,” concludes Oliver, before launching into a fake Daily Fantasy commercial starring Seth Rogen, Adam Pally, Kathryn Hahn and more comedians.

“I’ve won $784,000 on FanDuel … I have a Masters degree in statistics and have designed an advanced algorithm that incorporates real-time weather condition updates and can calculate an earned run average to the 20th decimal point. Hey jocks, how does it feel to be a nerd’s b****?” says Martin Starr.

“Daily Fantasy has the support of the NFL. When have they ever been associated with anything shady?” wonders Pally.


Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."