Fantasy football companies FanDuel and DraftKings are getting hit with unnecessary roughness, some might say. In fact, they’re being told to stop doing business in the state of New York.
After a month-long investigation, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday he has determined these businesses promote games of chance, not skill. He states, “each DraftKings/FanDuel wager represents a wager on a ‘contest of chance’ where winning or losing depends on numerous elements of chance to a ‘material degree.'” Essentially, according to him, playing these games is purely gambling.
In a letter obtained by ESPN, Schneiderman writes, “Our review concludes that DraftKings’/FanDuel’s operations constitute illegal gambling under New York law”, and that customers of these sites “are clearly placing bets on events outside their control of influence, specifically on the real game performance of professional athletes.”
Disappointed in the Attorney General’s decision, FanDuel released this reply, “Fantasy sports is a game of skill and legal under New York State law. This is a politician telling hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers they are not allowed to play a game they love and share with friends, family, coworkers and players across the country. The game has been played — legally — in New York for years and years, but after the Attorney General realized he could now get himself some press coverage, he decided a game that has been around for a long, long time is suddenly now not legal. We have operated openly and lawfully in New York for several years. The only thing that changed today is the Attorney General’s mind.”
DraftKings has also reponded to this ruling, “We are very disappointed that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took such hasty action today, particularly since he did not take any time to understand our business or why daily fantasy sports are clearly a game of skill. We strongly disagree with the reasoning in his opinion and will examine and vigorously pursue all legal options available to ensure our over half a million customers in New York State can continue to play the fantasy sports games they love.”
So there’s a fight brewing between two multi-billion dollar companies, and the state of New York. Keep your eyes on the line of scrimmage. I bet (no, I can’t bet. I…hmm…expect) we’ll see some flags on this play.