A group of New York citizens backed by the anti-gambling group
Stop Predatory Gambling has filed a lawsuit against New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo challenging the constitutionality of the bill
that legalized daily fantasy sports in the state. The lawsuit
contends that the law violates the Constitution of the State of New
York because a constitutional amendment is needed to legalize a new
form of gambling. This is the latest development in the
ongoing legal battle over daily fantasy sports in New
In November 2015, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
issued cease and desist letters to DraftKings and
FanDuel—the two largest daily fantasy sports
operators—ordering them to stop operating in New York,
alleging that their operations constitute illegal gambling under
New York state law. Only days later, both DraftKings and
FanDuel filed lawsuits seeking to prevent Attorney General
Schneiderman from banning their operation within the state.
Before those lawsuits could be adjudicated, the state legislature
passed Senate Bill S8153, legalizing daily fantasy
sports through the registration and regulation of "interactive
fantasy sports contests," which the bill defines as
"games of skill." Senate Bill S8153 was signed into
law by Governor Cuomo on August 3, 2016, in time for the New York
Gaming Commission to issue temporary permits to several of the largest
daily fantasy sports operators prior to the start of the 2016 NFL
This latest lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of S8153,
alleges that the law mischaracterizes daily
fantasy sports as games of skill outside the state's definition
of gambling, and that daily fantasy sports—or
"interactive fantasy sports contests"—are in fact a
form of gambling that falls within the state constitution's
express prohibition against gambling. As a result, the suit
contends that a constitutional amendment was needed to legalize
daily fantasy sports.
In response to this suit, a spokesperson for DraftKings and
FanDuel stated, "The state constitution specifically gives the
legislature the power to define what is—and what is
not—gambling, and the legislature has done so a number of
times in the past and long before the emergence of fantasy
sports. The Attorney General, who certainly has had some
strong opinions about fantasy sports, has clearly stated he will
enforce and defend this new law. This is a layup—they
have no case."
It will be interesting to see how this latest challenge to daily
fantasy sports in New York develops and whether the New York
Supreme Court will get the chance to weigh in on the
constitutionality of the law that brought daily fantasy sports back
to New York—the largest market in the United States and
home to the headquarters of daily fantasy sports operator
FanDuel. Check back for updates as this saga continues to
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