Protesters gathered outside New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to challenge his recent ruling that daily fantasy sports constitute illegal gambling in New York state.
Led by FanDuel co-founder Tom Griffiths and other industry employees, about a hundred gathered before 8am for what’s been dubbed the “Fantasy Sports for All” coalition. They hoisted signs reading, “Keep your laws off my lineup” and “If only politics were skill-based,” a nod to the federal statute proclaiming online games of skill are legal, whereas gambling games are not (daily fantasy sports are classified as games of skill in most states, at least for the time being).
In response to the Attorney General’s ruling, Griffiths tells Business Insider: “He acted unlike any other AG in the country… It’s surprising that he has acted unilaterally overnight to shut us down.”
In his cease and desist letter sent to both companies on Nov. 11, Schneiderman said, “Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country. Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch.”
The Daily Fantasy Sports industry has been all over the media in recent weeks and months, and there are some huge, vested interests at stake. With billions of dollars in wagers changing hands each year, hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising flowing from DFS sites to ESPN, Fox Sports and the like, and the billion-plus dollar valuations of both FanDuel and DraftKings, many prominent businesses are keeping a watchful eye on how this all plays out.
As we discussed on WNYC’s “Money Talking” this week, with many states having similar gambling statutes on the books as New York, Schneiderman’s ruling could have far-reaching implications for this burgeoning industry.
Griffiths tells Business Insider that he’ll continue to fight the ruling.
“Fantasy sports is played by 60 million people across the country,” he says. “We want to keep it legal and fun and available to play.”
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