FanDuel president Christian Genetski on Thursday (July 27) stood by his company’s decision to hire sports media personality Craig Carton to be the company’s spokesman on responsible gambling even after Carton served one year in prison for fraud.
“No question that Craig Carton is potentially a controversial choice to have as responsible gaming ambassador,” Genetski told a room of about 100 gambling professionals during the National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling in Washington, D.C.
“We talked a lot about whether it was the right decision. I will tell you that I think we did make the right decision,” Genetski said.
Carton, 54, served one year in prison after being convicted of fraud on November 7, 2018 in a federal court in Manhattan.
Carton and three associates swindled $4.8m out of investors by lying about having millions of dollars in concert tickets supplied by promoters.
At his sentencing, Carton cited his gambling addiction as one of the principal reasons he committed the crime.
After his release from federal custody in 2020, Carton returned to New York City sports talk radio station WFAN where his salary reportedly exceeded $1m per year.
Last month, Carton announced he was leaving WFAN to join Fox Sports 1, a pay television channel.
FanDuel named Carton its responsible gambling ambassador on September 23, 2021.
“We have to acknowledge that there are people with gambling addictions … and to do that with authenticity, you have to have a spokesperson who says, ‘Take it from me,’” Genetski said.
As part of his job with FanDuel, Carton tours college campuses to talk to students about his problems with gambling.
“None of us can judge what’s in another person’s heart but I can tell you from my interaction with him, I think it’s absolutely authentic that he feels very fortunate to still have a family and to still have a life and a career,” Genetski said.
Carli Lloyd, a former soccer star on the U.S. Women’s National Team which is competing in the World Cup in New Zealand, also has joined FanDuel as a responsible gambling ambassador.
Responsible gambling has become a controversial term because some argue it puts the onus on customers instead of the industry to prevent addiction.
Genetski said the industry continues to develop methods to help gamblers detect and avoid problems but “I believe that our users should be able to make that determination [about how much to spend on gambling] themselves.”
“We don’t know what the users’ budgets are,” he said.
Genetski also referred to recent suspensions of players in the National Football League (NFL) for sports-betting violations as “growing pains.”
Suspended players “have been betting relatively small amounts, and it’s costing them their livelihood at least for a period of time,” Genetski said.
“[The NFL] trained everyone on what the rules were, and obviously, the messages didn’t land."
Genetski added that none of the suspensions so far have revealed an impact on the integrity of games “but there is a perception concern, and that’s why the rules exist.”