What’s The Hold Up? New York Fantasy Sports Bill On Sidelines

Written By J.R. Duren on June 30, 2016 - Last Updated on November 29, 2022
NY Cuomo fantasy sports

In the wee hours of the morning on June 18, all seemed to be well with daily fantasy sports in New York.

The Assembly (91-22) and Senate (45-17) had voted to approve a bill that would legalize daily fantasy sports. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to approve the bill, and that has left DFS proponents and others wondering why the measure has yet to be signed.

In fact, the bill hasn’t even reached his desk, officially.

Enacting the law would allow FanDuel and DraftKings to operate in the state on July 1, per a highly publicized settlement between the two sites and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Cuomo’s silence extending approval process

The typical process sees a bill passed by the Assembly and Senate. The governor then calls for a particular bill. That bill is then sent to the governor for his approval or veto.

In the case of the DFS bill, Cuomo’s office has yet to call for the bill.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, chairman of the Assembly gaming committee, said “sometimes the governor doesn’t call for a bill until November or December.”

He went on to say that “it’s up to the governor’s office” and that, though Cuomo hasn’t asked for the bill itself, he has asked for the bill’s supporting documents.

Pretlow was quoted as saying he would be surprised if Cuomo doesn’t eventually sign the bill.

The history: Injunction, scandal sent DFS into turmoil

Schneiderman’s lawsuit against DraftKings and FanDuel claimed (among other allegations) that the two sites are games of chance rather than games of skill, making them sports betting sites and thus illegal in New York.

Yet even before Schneiderman questioned the sites’ legality, DraftKings and FanDuel had to deal with a different scandal earlier in the year.

On September 27, a DraftKings employee released data revealing the prevalence of players in DraftKings lineups before games began. Knowing such information in advance could feasibly help a user perform better in a DFS contest.

That week, the employee won $350,000 in a FanDuel contest. After that news came out in October, DraftKings defended the employee, saying he did not have the data at a time that would have helped him set his lineup. A third-party report commissioned by DraftKings backed up that assertion.

After whirlwind of lawsuits, CEOs remain optimistic

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins and FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles managed to remain positive over the past eight months.

In separate interviews this week, both men expressed a hopeful outlook about Cuomo’s decision concerning the DFS bill.

Eccles told Yahoo Finance reporter Daniel Roberts that the bill passing was the company’s most significant milestone.

“It was just elation. It’s a landmark,” Eccles said. “I had some interns in on Thursday and one of them asked me what the biggest milestone for the company has been, and I said, ‘This is it.'”

Robins spoke with Roberts three days after the bill passed the Senate. The DraftKings boss acknowledged that the New York battle hurt his company’s reputation, but that he’s hoping Cuomo will give the bill the green light.

“I’m hopeful that if the governor chooses to sign the bill into law, we’ll be able to get back in time for football season,” Robins said.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at The Villages Daily Sun. J.R. is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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