Last Thursday was a sad day for New York daily fantasy sports (DFS) fans, and for common sense, in general. After a battle that began in 2016 with the launch of DFS in New York, an appellate court judge has singlehandedly determined that the activity is simply a game of chance and doesn’t require any skill. As a result of this arbitrary decision, per New York gambling laws, DFS cannot be legal in New York.
What Did The New York Court Decide About DFS
In 2016, New York lawmakers decided that DFS was a game of skill and should be allowed in the state. Since then, opponents have fought with everything they have in their arsenal to reverse the policy, previously winning over a judge when the case went to court two years ago. The debate continued and was sent up the chain on an appeal, leading to yesterday’s court decision.
Not only is this a blow to DFS fans, it’s also a blow to DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo, FantasyDraft and Draft. They are the five companies that had been issued temporary DFS licenses in 2016. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that they are now working with Attorney General (AG) Letitia James to take the case to the next level, the New York Court of Appeals. The AG’s office has only offered that it is reviewing the situation and will make a determination in the near future.
FanDuel is ready to fight if it’s necessary. The sports gambling company released a statement, explaining, “We expect that there will be an appeal and we’ll be able to continue to offer contests while that appeal is decided.” DraftKings chimed in, adding that the “legislative action authorizing fantasy sports in New York was constitutional and in the best interests of taxpayers and fantasy sports fans.”
It’s apparent that there are at least a couple of judges in New York that have no idea what DFS means or what it entails. A simple review of some of the more popular DFS sites will show that there are certain individuals who continuously rank at the top of the winnings charts. If DFS were merely based on chance, it would be impossible to see the same names repeated over and over.
Who Is Opposing DFS?
At the heart of the opposition is a lobby group with too much free time on its hands. Stop Predatory Gambling has continuously fought against any gambling expansion in the state, believing that lawmakers need to be responsible for what individuals do in their spare time. The company’s national director, Les Bernal, asserts, “The reason New York state has a constitutional prohibition on commercialized gambling promoted by the state is because it’s a form of consumer financial fraud. This isn’t about people having a Super Bowl office pool. This is about state government cheating and exploiting people, contributing to the huge debt culture in the state.”
Bernal, and a few unnamed judges, would do well to learn a new word of the day. Today, that word would be hypocritical. Reviewing the reasons for the DFS ban – it’s a game of chance, not skill, and commercialized gambling is a “form of consumer financial fraud,” an interesting paradox is found. How is it possible that DFS can be banned for being a game of chance when there is a minimum of nine – count’em, nine – lotteries offered in the state? If there’s anything that can be defined as a game of pure chance, it’s the lottery. Resorts World Casino in New York City, a non-tribal gaming facility, has 4,400 slot machines. Surely Bernal doesn’t believe that slots are a game of skill.
It really is mind-boggling that anyone can believe DFS is a game of chance. The only way this train of thought is possible is if the person didn’t actually take the time to research the subject. With that being the case, the individual has no business trying to prevent the activity from being allowed.
Here’s to hoping that AG James and the sports betting companies put their collective heads together in order to educate some very uneducated individuals in New York.