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New York lawmakers confidently voted to pass a bill legalizing daily fantasy sports

06/19/2016

Following March Agreements with Attorney General New York Assemblymen Pass Regulatory and Consumer Protections with Daily Fantasy Sports Bill

New York had become an infamous battle ground for daily fantasy sports operators, as state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened litigation against the practice last November. This ended in a settlement reached in March, in which DraftKings and FanDuel promised to stop operating until the anticipated passage of legislation in September of this year,

On Friday, June 17, DraftKings and FanDuel received some good news about their potential return to the highly lucrative New York markets: New York lawmakers confidently voted to pass a bill legalizing, taxing, and regulating the daily fantasy sports industry. The vote was 91 in favor, 22 against.

The bill details a suite of consumer protections and regulations, while placing daily fantasy sports outside of the state’s definition of illegal gambling. It only awaits the signature of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The bill declares that daily fantasy sports operators must be overseen by New York’s state gaming commission. Operators are taxed at a rate of 15 percent. In addition, operators must pay a fee of 0.5 percent of revenues, capped at $50,000. These collected funds will all be transferred into New York’s state lottery fund, which in turn goes to support the state’s public education system. Officers and directors applying to daily fantasy sports companies must submit to FBI criminal background checks.

Contests may not be conducted based upon high school or college sports, nor may they have anything to do with horse racing competitions. More experienced daily fantasy sports players must be identified by companies. Each player can only enter a certain amount of contests under a capped number. Per form, players must be 18 years of age or older.

Debate on the floor had a somewhat lighthearted tone full of sports puns for ostensibly humorous effect. For example, the bill’s supporters called it a “touchdown” for New York daily fantasy sports consumers. Assemblyman Dean Murray said: “This is a win for the millions of fans in New York that play and enjoy fantasy sports… it’s also a win for the state in that we’ll be generating millions of dollars that will go to education.”

The contests’ detractors, those that insist daily fantasy sports is certainly a form of illegal gambling and therefore against the state’s constitution, labeled the bill a “flag on the play.” Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti said: “Those who want to make fantasy sports legal in New York should be presenting to us a constitutional amendment… You’ve got to tie yourself into a pretzel to somehow say this is not gambling.”

While DraftKings did not release any statements, one of FanDuel’s representatives appreciated the “overwhelming support in the Assembly [which] demonstrates that the voices of 3 million fantasy sports players in New York were heard.”

 
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