New York has been the most hostile battleground in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) wars in the United States, but if recent reports hold true, it appears that there may at least be some positive momentum for DFS in the Empire State in the near future. According to LegalSportsReport.com (LSR), a new DFS legalization and regulation bill from New York Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow is set to drop soon.
LSR relayed what appears to be a direct message on Twitter from one of Pretlow’s constituents on Monday, which quoted Pretlow as saying, “….legislation will be introduced and moved through the committees in the next coming days. We’re ensuring all consumer protections are in place before it’s finalized.”
State Senator John Bonacic introduced DFS legislation in February, but S6793 has essentially gone nowhere. LSR’s Dustin Gouker opines that the three-plus months between Bonacic’s bill and Pretlow’s may indicate that most of the negotiations, arguments, and dirty work for the new bill are being done before it gets introduced, rather than afterward in various hearings and committee meetings. The benefit to this type of process for those in the pro-DFS camp is that the bill could be turned around quickly, as once it is introduced, it has already been discussed and marked up and won’t need as much time in committee or on the floor of the Assembly and Senate.
And that’s probably not a bad idea, as the New York legislature goes into recess on June 16th. Can’t really afford a ton of time letting the bill slog through debates and public hearings.
DFS has been a contentious issue in New York. Attorneys General in other states have declared DFS to be illegal, but offered little to no commentary on the issue, simply analyzing the law and making a ruling. New York AG Eric Scheiderman, though, has gone after the DFS sites – DraftKings and FanDuel in particular – with a vengeance. It’s as if the sites insulted his mother or something.
In November, Schneiderman sent cease and desist letters to DraftKings and FanDuel, telling them to exit his state. In a public statement, he unleashed some venom, saying:
Our investigation has found that, unlike traditional fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports companies are engaged in illegal gambling under New York law, causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling, and misleading New York consumers. Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country. Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch.
The DFS filed a restraining order against Schneiderman, but it was denied by New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez. In January, an appellate panel granted the sites a stay, allowing them to continue operating in the state, but in March, the sites came to a settlement with the AG and agreed to withdraw from the state.