Setback For New York Daily Fantasy Sports (Update)

Albany Judge rules that daily fantasy sports contests constitute gambling and are prohibited by the state constitution

Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly in Albany, New York put the cat among the pigeons Friday when he ruled that daily fantasy sports – the classification as a game predominantly of skill notwithstanding – are gambling and as such are prohibited by the state constitution.

Justice Connolly referenced an 1894 amendment to the state constitution which he said gave a broad definition of prohibited gaming activities, so although daily fantasy sports contests are “predominated by skill rather than chance,” they are indeed gambling.

The case has its roots in a 2016 state law signed off by Gov. Andrew Cuomo following approval in the legislature, which declared that daily fantasy sports are “not games of chance” and “do not constitute gambling” under the state’s penal law.

Four anti-gambling advocates challenged the new law, leading to Justice Connolly’s ruling, which effectively strikes down the new DFS legislation.

One person likely to be pleased (or vindicated?) by the judge’s finding will be former Attorney General Eric Schneidermann, who during his tenure of office proved to be a thorn in the side of DFS operators with his contention that the vertical constitutes gambling in New York state law (see previous InfoPowa reports).