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Key NY lawmakers back legalizing daily fantasy sports

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Key New York lawmakers said Wednesday they're continuing efforts to legalize daily fantasy sports following Monday's agreement by its two biggest websites to stop taking bets in New York until July.

New York's Republican-controlled Senate has already backed regulating daily fantasy sports, putting that in its recent budget proposal. Sen. John Bonacic, the Middletown Republican whose committee has jurisdiction in the matter, was pushing for that. The budget deadline is March 31.

In the Democrat-controlled Assembly, J. Gary Pretlow, who chairs the committee with gambling jurisdiction, has predicted since December that the Legislature will legalize and regulate it. But he said it will happen later, before lawmakers adjourn in June, giving them time to craft a law that will survive any legal challenges.

''I don't have enough time to go through all of the nuances that we have to do because we want to do this right,'' Pretlow, a Mount Vernon Democrat, said. ''We have until actually the end of the session to come up with a bill. I'm pretty sure the governor will sign it once we do it.

''But I don't want to just look at what the fantasy industry has offered or suggested,'' Pretlow added. ''We want to do our own bill. It's going to be something that is fair for all parties concerned.''

Bonacic said Wednesday that if the Assembly wants more time, ''so be it.''

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said following the agreement in the attorney general's court case that it ''looks forward'' to reviewing proposed legislation.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued New York-based Fan Duel and Boston-based DraftKings in November, contending they were conducting illegal gambling prohibited under New York's constitution and laws.

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers had been playing their daily fantasy sports, in which users pay entry fees to manage rosters of teams like a general manager and then earn points depending on how well those players do. The companies depicted their contests as games of skill, not chance, and not subject to the state's gambling restrictions.

The lawsuit already had a chilling effect on the financial institutions processing players' money for the companies that were dominant in the New York market.

Under the agreement, if Albany lawmakers fail to pass legislation, a state appeals court will take up the case during its September term. Meanwhile, the companies cannot take bets from users with New York IP addresses and must withdraw their New York clients' balances within seven days of being asked to do so.