In 2016, a New York court ruled that daily fantasy sports gambling was legal.
Five years, and one lawsuit later, the future of daily fantasy in the state is up-in-the-air, and its fate rests in the gavels of the New York Court of Appeals, right here in Albany.
So, here’s everything you need to know about the current status of the case. Per an article from Casino.org, anti-gambling groups sued the state over their 2016 decision to legalize daily fantasy sports wagering, claiming that the court overstepped their rights, citing elements of the state constitution in their suit.
Originally a seven-judge panel, Judge Michael Garcia removed himself from the case due to a conflict of interest that dates back to 2015, leaving the court with six judges to preside over the case.
The court has ordered re-argument in the case, which will allow for new or additional arguments to be added to the case. This decision by the court was a signal to some that we may have a split decision on our hands, meaning three judges are in favor of one side, and three are in favor of another.
So, what is this lawsuit about? From what we’ve been able to learn, it comes down to the question of whether or not the court followed the New York state constitution in its legalization of daily fantasy sports wagering back in 2016. From Philip Conneller of Casino.org, here is where the court may have gone wrong…
“Gambling is illegal in New York unless an exception is made via a constitutional amendment, which requires a public referendum. The legislature created a carveout for DFS on the grounds that it is not a gambling game but a game of skill.” – Philip Conneller, Casino.org
This is a very difficult decision to be made, because the prosecution brings up a valid point. If you did not follow the necessary steps to legalize daily fantasy sports wagering, and did not make this decision iron-clad, then you are left open to speculation and disagreement.
Deciding that daily fantasy sports are a show of “skill” and not “gambling” is a poor workaround, because as long as money is involved, someone can make an argument that you are gambling.
All of this being said, the longer the case remains in court in Albany, the longer that DFS players will continue to be allowed to play on apps like DraftKings and FanDuel. If a decision comes sooner rather than later, however, the already-limited landscape of sports gambling in the Capital Region could shift again.
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