NEW YORK LEGISLATURE PASSES DAILY FANTASY SPORTS BILL (Update)
 
Race against time ends in victory amidst heavy lobbying for and against.
 
In some dramatic last-minute politicking Friday, running into the early hours of Saturday morning as the legislative session drew to a close, the New York Legislature approved daily fantasy sports regulation and licensing bills  A 10736 (vote 91 – 22) and S.8153.
 
The action really started Thursday as politicians raced against a legislative deadline on the final day of the session, with Assembly bill (A.10736) frantically pushed through four different committees and sent to the floor, where it received an overwhelmingly positive vote on Friday afternoon.
 
“This is a win for the millions of fans in New York that play and enjoy fantasy sports,” said Assemblyman Dean Murray. “It’s also a win for the state in that we’ll be generating millions of dollars that will go to education.”
 
Murray also observed: "That was some of the heaviest, hardest lobbying Ive seen in my time in Albany."
 
The vote may have been overwhelming, but not everyone in the Assembly liked it. Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti was one of them, commenting:
 
“Those who want to make fantasy sports legal in New York should be presenting to us a constitutional amendment. You’ve got to tie yourself into a pretzel to somehow say this is not gambling.”
 
A 10736 tightens oversight of fantasy games and establishes consumer protections while clarifying that DFS is not considered illegal gambling under state law.
 
Other provisions include:
 
* Age limit of 18 years.
 
* Employees of operators may not compete in contests.
 
* The use of third-party computer scripts is not allowed.
 
* Oversight of daily fantasy sports by the New York State Gambling Commission;
 
* A 15 percent tax on operators’ gross revenues, plus an additional tax of 0.5 percent of revenues with a $50,000 annual cap. The revenue would be deposited in the state’s lottery fund, which is used to fund public education;
 
* FBI criminal background checks for officers or directors of fantasy sports companies;
 
* Strict consumer protections, including identification of highly experienced players and limits on the number of entries each player can make in a contest; ID and age verification, and strict adherence to age limits
 
* A ban on contests based on college or high school sports or horse racing;
 
Whilst supporters were pleased and relieved to have achieved Assembly approval, the bill had still not been passed by the Senate, and a late Friday night session running into the early hours of Saturday morning was required to achieve that, with the Senate approving S.8153…an identical measure to its companion bill approved in the Assembly.
 
The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomos desk for signature into state law within 10 days, allowing fantasy sports operators to return to operations in the state subject to compliance with the provisions of the approved legalization.
 
Cuomo worked with lawmakers on language in the bill and is expected to sign it.
 
If Cuomo signs the bill New York will become the seventh US state to accept fantasy and daily fantasy sports, joining Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia
 
Applauding the Assemblys approval of the DFS bill, a spokesman for operator FanDuel said that the bodys positive vote demonstrated that the voices of 3 million fantasy sports fans in New York State had been heard.
 
Sector observers regard the passage of the New York DFS bills as a major victory for the vertical despite strong opposition led by the New York Gaming Association; they point out that the state is one of the largest revenue producers for fantasy sports and is viewed as a leading-indicator for other states.