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Judge ruling leaves DFS operators in limbo

| By iGB Editorial Team
New York State judge says DFS is gambling and should be illegal

The futures of DraftKings and FanDuel in one of the operators’ biggest markets look uncertain after a judge in Albany ruled that daily fantasy sports (DFS) are a form of gambling and should be illegal in New York State.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly made the ruling on Friday in response to a lawsuit submitted by anti-gambling organisations, according to the Journal News.

Connolly ruled that a law dating back to 2016 that allows daily fantasy sports to operate is in violation of the gambling ban in the state constitution.

The lawsuit was launched after the state’s lawmakers legalised DFS as games of skill just months after Eric Schneiderman, then Attorney General, had issued cease and desist orders against DraftKings and FanDuel in 2015, forcing the operators to temporarily halt operations in the state.

The lawsuit argued that lawmakers should have sought a public referendum to justify the change in law.

However, the implications for DFS in the state remain unclear, with DraftKings responding to the latest development by claiming that the company can maintain its offering to players.

“We are pleased that the court upheld the New York legislature’s decision to decriminalise daily fantasy sports contests and that DraftKings can continue to offer their services to players,” DraftKings counsel David Boies said.

“We are continuing to study the court’s decision invalidating the regulatory structure and are committed to working with the legislature.”

The office of the state’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who signed off on the 2016 law in question, said that it would review the judge’s ruling.

The latest development in New York State underlines the tumultuous regulatory and legislative outlook facing DFS and gambling operators in the US.

Only last week, Indiana’s Supreme Court ruled that DraftKings and FanDuel could use could use “college players’ names pictures and statistics for online fantasy contests”.

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