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FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles: John Oliver's Takedown of Daily Fantasy Sports Was 'Painful to Watch' (Video)

"I did think it was funny, but I kind of hid behind the sofa when I watched it."

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

Comedian John Oliver has a gift: He knows how to take a popular, polarizing subject — FIFA corruption, gun control, net neutrality — and crush it to smithereens.

This is what Oliver did on his show “Last Week Tonight” back in November when he turned his focus on the daily fantasy sports industry and its key leaders, DraftKings and FanDuel. The two companies were buying TV ads like they were going out of style and were (and still are) in the midst of heated regulatory battles in numerous states around the legality of their product, which offers cash prizes for pay-to-play fantasy sports contests.

Some regulators consider it gambling. Oliver wholeheartedly agrees. And he pulled no punches in his epic rant on the industry and its offerings.

“I did think it was funny, but I kind of hid behind the sofa when I watched it,” joked FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles onstage Thursday at Re/code’s annual Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif. “It was quite painful to watch.”

Indeed, it would be! At one point, Oliver likened daily fantasy and its gambling-like entry fees to hardcore drugs. “[Daily fantasy] is the same as season-long fantasy the way a nice mug of tea is the same as a nice baggy of heroin,” Oliver joked. “Both give you a lovely warm feeling. One is a little more intense.”

Eccles can laugh about it, though. “I still like John Oliver,” he said.

Here’s the video from Oliver.

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