A DraftKings employee who inadvertently published internal data before winning $350,000 on another fantasy draft website did not access information before setting his lineup, according to a recently concluded investigation by the Greenberg Traurig law firm.
On Monday, ESPN reported that DraftKings content manager Ethan Haskell did not have the internal data until after locking up his lineup.
Attorney John Pappalardo led the two-week outside investigation.
Haskell had accidentally released the information on Sept. 27, after the early NFL kickoffs but before the start of the afternoon slate. The data included which players were on many team rosters. Haskell came in second at rival daily fantasy website FanDuel, winning $350,000.
The investigation also found Haskell had received an Excel file with aggregate player ownership percentages — not available to the public — for all weekend NFL games, which was supposed to be used for his weekly story.
A FanDuel account in Haskell’s name shows the submission of a lineup in the $25 buy-in, $5 million guaranteed NFL Sunday contest timestamped 3:28 a.m. on Sept. 27.
“[Greenberg Traurig] has confirmed the Company’s conclusion that Mr. Haskell could not possibly have entered the winning lineup based upon his receipt of the Company’s non-public aggregate ownership percentage information because he did not receive that information until 40 minutes after the lineup was locked,” writes ESPN staff writer David Purdum.
Haskell remains employed at DraftKings and has apologized for releasing the data on the fantasy sports community site RotoGrinders.com, which led to a wave of criticism over DraftKings and FanDuel employees accessing internal data while competing on other sites.
“We are very pleased that the independent investigation by Greenberg Traurig has confirmed the findings to our internal review of this matter and our conclusion that there was no improper use of information by our employee,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told ESPN. “In fact, as the investigation also concluded, it was not even possible for non-public information to have been used improperly.”
Since the incident, DraftKings and FanDuel have banned employees from competing in daily fantasy contests. In an interview with ESPN, Robins said that no more than a “few dozen” DraftKings employees participated on FanDuel.
As of this week, there are as many as 11 class-action lawsuits filed against daily fantasy sports operators, Purdum reports, with one in Florida naming Haskell a defendant.