Wednesday December 9,2015 : NEW YORK HEARING ON D.F.S. (Update)
“This is a much more complex issue than just saying ‘make it legal.’ There are a lot of nuances involved,” says chairman.
Tuesday's informational hearing by the New York Assembly committees for Racing and Wagering, Consumer Affairs and the Protection and Legislative Commission on Administrative Regulation appears to have gone off rather well, with sensible and relevant information being imparted to committee members by generally balanced experts, and lively and pertinent questions coming from committee members.
The consensus among several observers was that the genre is headed in the licensing and regulation direction in New York, which is being watched closely by other states considering what to do about the daily fantasy sport phenomenon.
The Committee for Racing and Wagering chairman, J. Gary Pretlow launched the hearing, observing:
“First, let me just state that we’re not here to litigate the legality of fantasy sports. That is in the courts right now, and regardless as to what the outcome of that case is, what we’re interested in is regulation, licensure, consumer protection.”
There seemed to be a general feeling that licensing and regulation is the preferred course for New York, rather than voting to ban DFS, but there were differing opinions on whether the genre constitutes gambling due to the levels of knowledge and skills required for success.
In the latter context, members will wait for a ruling from the courts, which New York AG Eric T. Schneiderman has approached for an opinion on whether DFS is legal in terms of New York law
Interestingly, a significant portion of the program was devoted to fantasy horse racing and the concerns of the industry over its current unregulated status.
A number of experts testified at the hearing:
The chairman of the Fantasy Sports Association, Peter Schoenke;
Legal experts Randy Mastro and Jeremy Kudon;
DraftKings legal representative and counsel, Jonathan Schiller;
FanDuel counsel on policy and government, Cory Fox;
Batavia Downs Gaming exec Michael Nolan;
Coalition Against Gambling representative Stephen Shafer;
New York Council on Problem Gaming representative James Maney;
Well-known online gambling opponent Les Bernal, representing Stop Predatory Gambling; and
Gambling Compliance analyst Kevin Cochran.
One of the more interesting members of the committee was Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, whose metier is administrative regulation and who gave fellow members food for thought on a variety of regulatory possibilities ranging from age restrictions to problem gambling.
In closing the five hour hearing, chairman Pretlow probably summed up the feelings of a number of committee members when he observed:
“This is a much more complex issue than just saying ‘make it legal.’ There are a lot of nuances involved.”