Future of daily fantasy sports hinges on NY governor

Posted at 12:52 PM, Jun 18, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) — The future of daily fantasy sports sites in New York hinges on whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign into law legislation that calls the popular online contests a "game of skill."

That legal definition in a bill passed by Albany lawmakers early Saturday resolves the central argument in a lawsuit brought against the country's two top companies by the state attorney general, who had previously likened the online matches to illegal gambling operations based on chance.

In March, New York-based FanDuel and Boston-based DraftKings agreed to stop operations in the state pending the passage of a law that would resolve the ambiguity.

But under the stipulation with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, they can't start operating again until Cuomo, a Democrat, signs the bill into law by July 1.

Cuomo hasn't indicated whether he'll sign the law, and his spokesman said Saturday that aides were reviewing the bill.

Schneiderman said in a statement he would enforce the law as it's written but resolved to continue to pursue previously filed false advertising and consumer fraud claims against the companies.

Daily fantasy sports became wildly popular ahead of the 2015 NFL football season, when the companies flooded TV, radio and the internet with ads promoting their games as easy ways for the average sports fan to win big.

But the advertising blitz also drew the eye of regulators like Schneiderman, who argued the entry fees players paid to manage a roster of teams like a general manager were actually wagers — and the contests themselves were highly dependent on factors out of a player's control.

The legislation requires fantasy sports companies to register with the state Gaming Commission, paying an annual fee of up to $50,000 and being subject to a 15 percent tax on their revenue.

It also bars anyone younger than 18 from playing and prohibits college and high school sports.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said in a statement after the legislation passed the state Senate that he was hopeful Cuomo would sign the bill into law.