New York officials had taken a strong stance against daily fantasy sports games, with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman leading the fight against daily fantasy sports. Schneiderman suggested the DFS games were more about gambling than actual skill and pushed for all DFS sites to be forced out of the state.
After months of court battling, Scheiderman got his wish – if only temporarily – when daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo Fantasy Sports were all suspended in the state.
The move kept DraftKings and the other leading DFS operators from providing paid games to New York customers and provided serious cause for concern in the booming industry.
That was, of course, until lawmakers passed a law that specifically defined daily fantasy sports as games of skill – permanently nullifying Schneiderman’s argument against the industry’s legality.
While suddenly deemed legal by the state of New York, the DFS ruling didn’t come without a caveat. DraftKings and any other daily fantasy sports site would be require to pay an annual fee of $50,000 and a 15% tax on revenue in order to offer paid games in the state. The new DFS law also keeps anyone below the age of 18 from playing and also bans the inclusion of high school and college fantasy sports games.
The Gaming Commission still has to iron some things out when it comes to permanent permits and consumer protection, but the meat of the new DFS law makes the budding industry fully legal in one of it’s largest markets.
DFS really first hit a snag when Schneiderman pushed out a “cease and desist” letter earlier in 2015 and has taken this long to recover from it. Numerous states have followed in New York’s footsteps in at least questioning the ethics and legality of the daily fantasy sports industry, and many have even taken action.
While the line is fuzzy for several states, progress continues to be made. New York officially going legal could be the big domino the industry needed, however, as the argument against DFS has finally come full circle and is finally favoring the “game of skill” stance.
New York joins a growing list of states to officially rule in favor of daily fantasy sports being legalized and regulated, with Missouri, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi leading the way.
The widening path giving way to a bright future in daily fantasy sports, and the good news comes just in time for crucial points of numerous sports’ seasons.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins pointed to the upcoming 2016 NFL season and the looming MLB playoffs as reason for the DFS community to get excited:
“MLB pennant races are heating up, an exciting NFL season is just around the corner and we are thrilled to be able to bring DraftKings back to millions of New York sports fans. New Yorkers can play our games right now, and on behalf of everyone at our company, thank you, New York, and welcome back.”
It still remains to be seen which states join New York and the others with official rulings on DFS, while the federal stance is also open to change in the future.
For now, the DFS industry will take a win where it can get one, and with the NFL season about to launch, getting New York back is about as big of a win as they could get.
While the news of daily fantasy sports going legal in New York is huge, poker lovers can’t help but marvel at the obvious double standard.
DFS being ruled as a game of skill and slowly being made legal across the United States is fantastic, but the fact that poker is not seen remotely in the same light is far from troubling – it’s a joke.
It will still be a while before we can safely see online poker legalized in even a handful of United States, but perhaps DFS gaining traction could push lawmakers in the right direction. One can only hope.
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