A DraftKings employee who accidentally published internal data the same weekend he won $350,000 on a rival site did not have access to the information before he set his winning lineup, according to an investigation performed for DraftKings by an outside law firm.
A statement released by DraftKings and obtained by ESPN on Monday said the investigation determined that written content manager Ethan Haskell did not receive the internal data until after he had locked his lineup.
The investigation was led by former U.S. attorney John Pappalardo of the law firm Greenberg Traurig. It took close to two weeks to complete.
On Sept. 27, after the early NFL games had kicked off but before the afternoon slate had started, Haskell published data revealing which players were on the most rosters. The same weekend, Haskell finished second in a million-dollar NFL contest at FanDuel and won $350,000.
According to the investigation, Haskell received an Excel file containing aggregate player ownership percentages for all weekend NFL games for use on a weekly story he composed. The data was not previously available to the public. The report shows a FanDuel account registered to Haskell submitted a lineup in the $25 buy-in, $5 million guaranteed NFL Sunday contest at 3:28 a.m. 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," the investigation concluded.
Haskell, who remains employed at DraftKings, apologized for publishing the data on a forum post on the daily fantasy sports community site RotoGrinders.com and thereby setting off a fury of controversy over DraftKings and FanDuel employees with access to internal data 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 said in a statement. "In fact, as the investigation also concluded, it was not even possible for non-public information to have been used improperly."
DraftKings and FanDuel have since banned employees from competing in public daily fantasy contests for money. In an interview on ESPN's Outside the Lines, Robins estimated a "few dozen" of his employees competed on FanDuel.
"Information like that would give people an advantage," Robins said on OTL. "It's not going to be enough to ensure absolute victory, but if it's information that others don't have and it pertains to the game, absolutely [it's an advantage], and that's why it's so important for us to have complete transparency here."
FanDuel told ESPN that roughly 0.3 percent of overall winnings on its site, believed to be in the $6 million range, were awarded to DraftKings employees playing on FanDuel. How much DraftKings employees lost in entry fees on FanDuel is not known.
DraftKings is continuing to investigate employees who had access to internal data not available to the public.
"DraftKings is fully committed to operating our daily fantasy sports games in a manner that is completely transparent and fair for all players," Robins said in Monday's release. "We will continue to work with all relevant authorities to ensure that sports fans can continue to enjoy the daily fantasy sports experience they love."
DraftKings also confirmed Monday that it hired Martha Coakley as an adviser. Coakley was the Massachusetts attorney general from January 2007 until January 2015, and the state legalized casino gambling during her tenure.
As of Monday morning, 11 class-action lawsuits had been filed against daily fantasy sports operators, including one in Florida that named Haskell a defendant.
ESPN staff writer Darren Rovell contributed to this report.