Through several hours of testimony in front of New York lawmakers Tuesday, representatives of daily fantasy sports hammered home the idea that DFS contests are skill-based and legal.
That approach may not have been perfectly germane to the discussion at hand, but it might help lay the groundwork for DFS safety net in one of the industry’s most important markets.
Attorneys for DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Fantasy Sports Trade Association chairman Peter Schoenke spoke Tuesday at a New York Assembly informational hearing on DFS. The purpose of the hearing was to gather information on the nascent industry which has come under fire recently. Four bills are currently pending in New York as State Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez mulls whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would bar contests in the state pending a trial.
The DFS representatives speaking Tuesday conveyed to lawmakers the industry’s newly found openness to regulation and got a bit of encouraging news in return.
Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering committee, said if Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is successful in shutting down daily fantasy sites in the state, the assembly will move to make them expressly legal.
“If the courts rule that it is an illegal act, then we will go in one direction, we will probably legalize it because people are doing it,” Pretlow said. “If the courts rule it is a legal act, we will still probably do something. There will be regulation in either case.”
Assemblyman Dean Murray, a DraftKings account holder, expressed similar sentiment:
“I think that if we concentrate on regulation rather than elimination, I think that everyone can come away pretty happy” he said.
The fantasy industry had been reticent to submit to external regulation until very recently. In the wake of the still-unfurling legal turmoil around the country, the FSTA created a self-regulating body, but site operators have admitted that likely won’t be enough.
The DFS representatives speaking Tuesday didn’t provide details on what type of regulation they would find acceptable, but generally the industry has pushed for rules and oversight measures without attendant fees and taxation.
New York is one of the largest markets in the country for daily fantasy, and securing solid legal footing in the state is viewed as vitally important to the industry. FanDuel recently withdrew stopped accepting entries from New York-based players as it awaits a decision as it awaits a resolution to Schneiderman’s request for a preliminary injunction. Many other sites, including DraftKings, continue to do business as usual there.