New York Judge Deals a Blow to Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Sports

Fantasy-sports betting faces an uncertain future in New York after a judge ruled that a law permitting the online contests violated the state constitution.

In a ruling released Monday, Albany Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly sided with anti-gambling activists and declared the 2016 compromise measure “null and void.”

But Connolly also said that state lawmakers had the “full authority” to decriminalize daily fantasy-sports betting and that “any finding of unconstitutionality in such context would be beyond the scope of the judicial review authority.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case — who are either recovering gambling addicts or relatives of problem gamblers — claimed victory, saying fantasy-sports betting companies could no longer operate in New York because the state can’t legally regulate them.

But lawyer Neil Murray also said he would wait to see how the state reacts before taking further action against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Gaming Commission to enforce the judge’s decision.

Leading fantasy-sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel remained in operation, with DraftKings lawyer David Boise saying the company “can continue to offer their services to players.”

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

Another DraftKings lawyer, Josh Schiller, also said the worst-case scenario for the company would involve “a referendum so that the state can regulate it.”

A Cuomo spokesperson said only: “We’re reviewing the ruling.”