On Tuesday, November 10, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threw down the proverbial gauntlet and instructed daily fantasy sports (DFS) giants DraftKings and FanDuel to cease-and-desist operations in the state within five days. And by Friday the industry leaders responded in kind by filing separate lawsuits against Schneiderman in Manhattan’s New York State Supreme Court.
DraftKings and FanDuel are asking the state’s high court to halt attempts to shut their operations down in New York. In the meantime, and despite the order from the state’s AG, the companies have continued to offer gaming options to New York residents. Currently, NY players account for about 13 percent of the companies’ revenue.
The DFS industry leaders are asking NY’s Supreme Courts for two distinct and complex decisions: The first is to declare Schneiderman’s order unconstitutional, and the second to declare DFS gaming legal under New York’s legal system. Draftkings has hired Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP who has previously represented the NFL, NFL players, and the NBA.
In addition to the lawsuits, Draftings and FanDuel put out a call to players to stage rallies outside the New York Attorney General’s offices. The International Business Times reports that the rallies were attended by mostly employees of DFS operators as well as players who responded.
Season-long fantasy sports games were given an exemption in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 – well before daily fantasy sports existed. Since then the DFS industry has emerged and many states are working to come to terms with whether or not this new form of fantasy sport play qualifies as “online gambling.” In New York, the criteria for determining what is considered skill-based is much more rigorous than in other states, and the New York Attorney Genreral’s office has determined that in their state, DFS play falls under their determination as “gambling.”
And while many DFS support services remain watchful, some payment gateway firms have begun instructing DFS companies to stop accepting payments from New York players. These financial service providers are enacting safeguards especially in light of the fact that US Attorney Preet Bharara, who took down the online gambling industry in 2011 freezing players banking accounts for years, has recently begun investigations into the DFS industry.