Fantasy sports rules taking shape in New York

Fantasy sports rules taking shape in New York

June 06, 2016 10:32 AM
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New York lawmakers are at work on legislation to regulate daily fantasy sports, which would enable thousands of people to resume playing.

Senate and Assembly committees with jurisdiction over gambling have advanced bills that detail proposed registration fees for commercial operators and prohibitions against players under 18 years old. They would also bar contests based on collegiate or high school sports or horse racing.

Differences between the bills would have to be reconciled and passed. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year in two weeks.

The Senate bill, introduced by Chairman John Bonacic of that chamber’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, would not apply to season-long fantasy sports contests where the entry fee is paid before the season starts. He would require operators with at least 5,000 New York customers to pay a one-time fee of $500,000 or 5 percent of their gross New York revenue in the previous year. Registration would be good for 10 years.

The largest commercial operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, agreed in March to stop taking bets in New York as lawmakers considered legalizing the popular online contests. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued to stop them, saying they offered illegal gambling, not games of skill as they maintained.

Under their agreement, if Albany lawmakers fail to pass legislation, a state appeals court will take up the case during its September term. In the meantime, 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.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel said they had hundreds of thousands of customers in New York.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: PhilHevener@GamingToday.com