In a landmark decision and the New York Court of Appeals yesterday reportedly reversed an earlier decision to rule that daily fantasy sports are legal and do not violate the eastern state’s constitution.
According to a Tuesday report from the Associated Press news service, the determination reversed an appellate determination from 2020 that found daily fantasy sports breached New York’s constitutional ban on gambling. This earlier judgement purportedly came as a blow to prominent providers such as DraftKings Incorporated and FanDuel Group while putting the kibosh on a 2016 law that portrayed the activity as lawful because it provided for minimum standards, consumer safeguards and the registration, taxation and regulation of operators.
Writing for the majority in the historic five-to-four decision and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore reportedly declared that the state’s constitutional prohibition on gambling doesn’t include skill-based competitions in which winning punters exercise ‘substantial influence’ over the outcome of a contest. The 66-year-old justice purportedly also decreed that the outcome of a daily fantasy sports game ‘turns not on the performance of real-life athletes as it would with respect to a bet or wager’ but rather on whether a contestant ‘has skillfully composed and managed a virtual roster so as to garner more fantasy points than rosters composed by other participants.’
The Associated Press reported that the original lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2016 New York law was coordinated by the non-profit Stop Predatory Gambling organization on behalf of four plaintiffs who had alleged personal or family harm owing to debts from gambling. An attorney for this group, Neil Murray, purportedly expressed disappointment that the New York Court of Appeals had not applied ‘the ordinary, commonsense definition of gambling’ in coming to its decision on daily fantasy sports.
In writing for the minority and New York Court of Appeals Judge Rowan Wilson reportedly asserted that the decision ‘effectively amends’ the state’s constitution and is reminiscent of a scene from the classic film Casablanca in which the character of Captain Renault expresses surprise at the prospect of gambling taking place in a local nightclub while simultaneously being handed his winnings.
For their part and DraftKings Incorporated and FanDuel Group both reportedly expressed delight at yesterday’s ruling with a spokesperson for the latter firm, Kevin Hennessy, using a prepared statement to describe New York as its ‘home’ where aficionados ‘have enjoyed playing daily fantasy for years.’
Reportedly read the statement from Hennessey…
“We are pleased that New Yorkers will continue to have access to fantasy sports contests.”