Fantasy sports lawyers go to Court in New York

Nov 27, 2015 9:19 AM

Attorneys for the two leading companies in the daily fantasy sports wagering business argued Wednesday in a Manhattan court room against the state attorney general’s efforts to shut them down and said he will have a ruling “soon.”

No one explained what “soon” may mean – is it days or weeks? – but whatever Judge Manuel Mendez’s decision is, the losing side is likely to waste no time filing an appeal.

New York AG Eric Schneiderman  has declared that the daily fantasy sports contests are illegal gambling under state law and cannot be offered to residents of the state.

Schneiderman sent letters to FanDuel and DraftKings earlier this month telling them to stop offering their respective contests in the state. FanDuel has suspended play for people in New York. DraftKings is allowing them to continue playing as it awaits a decision by Mendez.

The issue, of course is to what degree chance and skill weigh in the outcome of a contest. The companies have long contended that what they offer are games of skill.

The extended debate about fantasy games would not exist in its present form if single game sports betting was legal as it is in Nevada. But if a state cannot take on the federal ban on sports wagering, the consensus seems to be that fantasy action is the next best thing.

Nevada gaming regulators did not declare daily fantasy action to be illegal but the Gaming Control Board said companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings must have sports book licenses if they expect to operate in he state.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].