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In late 2015, New York ordered daily fantasy sports websites to cease their practices for violating gambling laws. Fast forward to a few days ago, and the ruling was reversed. Well-known sites within the multi-billion dollar industry, notably DraftKings and FanDuel, will soon be able to resume their respective operations within the state.
Although not legal just yet—Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the legislation for it to be considered law—the impending news has been welcomed by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. “I grew up playing fantasy sports and have watched it evolve over decades,” he said in a statement. “The last few years have seen some of the most exciting innovations since the invention of the game, and I believe this is only the beginning.”
Prior to this ruling, the topic was shrouded in controversy. Despite the economic size of the industry, many questioned the legality of such websites, calling into question the grey area between luck and skill.
Indeed, this was the reason for the cease-and-desist orders in 2015. Now, however, amended laws will seek to bring clarity to the matter. The full bill can be found here. Crucially, it alters the state’s gambling laws to include “regulated interactive fantasy sports contests with an entry fee.”
Additionally, the new laws will restrict people under 18 from playing; ensure that the odds of winning are accurately shown; enable players to exclude themselves from future games at any time; and identify players on the websites with high levels of experience.
The legislation has survived ferocious opposition from New York’s current gambling industry, with many suggesting that the recommencement of fantasy sports websites’ operations would detract from other gambling platforms, notably from state-regulated horse racing.
The future of the story now rests with Cuomo. He has, however, been very engaged with those drafting the new laws, and so is odds-on to sign on the dotted line. DraftKings and co. will be hoping for no last-minute changes of heart.