Barely six hours after a New York State Supreme Court judge told the two largest fantasy sports operators to shut down in the state, an appellate court judge late Friday issued an emergency stay order that permits New Yorkers to keep playing daily fantasy games. Of note, major daily fantasy providers FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. are engaged in a high stakes legal battle with New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who claims their games are a form of illegal gambling.
Earlier on Friday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez had denied a request by the gaming firms to continue operating in the state during the court proceedings.
More on New York banning FanDuel and DraftKings
The two daily fantasy operators pled their case for a stay before state appellate Judge Paul Feinman, who gave his approval to their request. The reprieve for FanDuel and DraftKings lasts until at least January 4th of next year. A five-judge appellate court panel will decide in a few weeks whether to extend the stay or allow the ruling to shut the fantasy sites to stand. New York AG Schneiderman began his campaign to bar the company from accepting money from New York residents in mid-November.
Statements from various parties
“We look forward to demonstrating to the appellate division why they should uphold today’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction barring DraftKings and FanDuel from continuing their illegal gambling operations in New York,” the New York AG’s office noted in a statement late Friday.
FanDuel’s statement pointed out that “New Yorkers have been able to legally play our games for more than six years, and today’s preliminary decision was wrong and we expect we will ultimately be successful.”
“Daily Fantasy Sports contests have been played legally by New Yorkers for the past seven years and we believe this status quo should be maintained while the litigation plays out,” DraftKings said in their statement.
New law could make daily fantasy games legal in New York
Related to this, New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray introduced two bills on Friday that would make daily fantasy legal in the Empire State.
Assembly Bill A08588 would define daily fantasy as a game of skill rather than a game of chance in New York penal law. The other bill, Assembly Bill A08587, is more of an end-around approach that would require amending an article in the state’s constitution.
Murray says he believes one of the bills will pass, but it might take some time as the New York Legislature does not convene convenes until mid-January.
“Realistically, you’re looking at May or June,” he commented in an interview with ESPN.
Murray also noted that if the current court case drags on into the spring, and legislation is passed legalizing daily fantasy in the state, that would be the end of the legal proceedings.