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Underdog launches GuardDog responsible gaming fund

| By Marese O'Hagan
Fantasy sports operator Underdog has launched GuardDog, a responsible gambling investment initiative.
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GuardDog has launched with $1.0m (£818,839/€947,806) in initial funding. Underdog says this will be used to support startups working on solutions to address problem gambling and encourage responsible play. This will span fantasy, betting and real-money gaming.

GuardDog aims to identify and invest in these startups. The startups will work with players and operators to develop safer gambling technology and provide support.

As well as receiving funding the startups will gain access to a number of advisors and investors across the industry. These include Adam Warrington, former vice-president of responsible gaming at FanDuel, responsible gaming advocate Brianne Doura-Schawohl and Sara Tait, former executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

“Innovating in responsibility”

Jeremy Levine, founder and co-CEO of Underdog said GuardDog reflects on Underdog’s commitment to safer gambling.

“At Underdog, we always look to adopt best in class and then innovate further,” he said. “With GuardDog, we intend to spur innovation to help companies that help people play the games they love – including all our games on Underdog – responsibly.

“We know there are tons of dreamers, entrepreneurs and builders out there that can help build a stronger, more responsible ecosystem for all. We want to help those innovating in responsibility by providing capital, mentorship and valuable connections.

“We’re really excited to launch GuardDog and we can’t wait to help some amazing companies.”

The news comes after the New York State Gaming Commission voted to ban fantasy sports pick’em-style games last week. Underdog is based in New York City.

Underdog and fellow fantasy sports operator PrizePicks lobbied against this ban coming in. In August, Levine published an open letter criticising DraftKings’ and FanDuel’s attempts to bar the inclusion of daily fantasy sports in New York’s regulations.

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