DraftKings Appeals New York Injunction

DraftsKings disputed the legality of a list of regularly practiced activities in New York as it appealed the injunction imposed against daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators in the state.

Fantasy Sports Operator DraftKings have been tied in a legal war with New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since November 2015; a decision was delivered a mere two weeks after their original hearing in favour of the state.  DraftKings filed an appeal last week, where they stated that the court had “abused its discretion” and committed several errors of law when it imposed the injunction on DFS operators in the first place.

Judge Manuel Mendez was convinced into imposing the ban in the first place after Schneiderman suggested that “a small number of professional gamblers profit at the expense of casual players”.

The Arguments

However, DraftKings claimed that the injunction banning DFS in NY should be lifted as Attorney General Schneiderman was far from proving that DFS contests are illegal. They further stated that the court had applied false legal standards and ignored all the evidence in finding that daily fantasy sports contests are games of chance.

Daily Fantasy sports only collect entry fees for tournaments; customers are not betting or wagering something of risk, which is central to New York’s gambling laws. The 67 page long filing compared the skill required for fantasy sports to a host of other tournaments such as dog shows, spelling bees, yachting tournaments and bass fishing, where random factors can make the outcomes unpredictable; therefore, would be “criminalised” under Judge Mendez’s ruling.

Attorney David Boies said in a statement that DFS, is comparable to season-long fantasy sports that are accepted as lawful in New York, and should therefore be legalised as a game of skill. No court has ever concluded that the role of chance dominates over the role of skill in fantasy sports matches; the only court to address the issue has concluded the opposite.

Schneiderman is optimistic in his endeavour against the DFS operators. His spokesman stated that they are looking forward to the Appellate Division also ruling in their favour and daily fantasy sports companies like DraftsKings and FanDuel will be prohibited from illegally taking bets from residents in New York.

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