New York DFS Users Cannot Play Golf At FanDuel
Legal Sports Report

FanDuel Tees Off With Fantasy Golf To Compete With DraftKings During PGA Tour Season

FanDuel golf Arnold Palmer Invitational
FanDuel officially went live with its fantasy golf product, allowing it to compete against DraftKings in the vertical ahead of the major portion of the pro golf season.

It’s the latest evidence that the two major daily fantasy sports sites are still on their own ahead of a planned merger. DraftKings just completed a funding round of more than $100 million.

FanDuel and golf, together at last

The news that FanDuel is launching a golf product was not new — the site announced its intention earlier this year.

But after a few months of beta testing, golf is ready for its real debut. Its initial contests will be based on the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational that starts on Thursday. One of the biggest weekends for fantasy golf — The Masters — is less than a month away.

The product is different from DraftKings’ offering and other iterations of fantasy golf in how it is structured. Users must select four players from rounds one and two of a tournament, then four players from rounds three and four. (At DraftKings, you just pick one group of golfers for an entire tournament.)

FanDuel said in its initial announcement that the game’s construction was based on the desire to add a strategy element. But CEO Nigel Eccles once questioned the legality of a fantasy golf product, at least as DraftKings offered it. (The two operators competing for No. 3 in the space — FantasyDraft and Yahoo Daily Fantasy  — take different tacks with golf. The former offers golf, while the latter does not.)

DraftKings vs. FanDuel in golf

The top three contests FanDuel is offering guarantee more than half a million dollars combined, each at varying price points. But that pales in comparison to DraftKings, which has more than $1.2 million guaranteed across its top three contests.

There are several reasons for that, first among them that DraftKings has an established audience for golf: it has offered it for years. There’s also the matter of tens of millions of fantasy users that DraftKings can serve for golf, but FanDuel can’t.

One of the problem states is Texas, where DraftKings takes paid entries and FanDuel does not. The other?

No FanDuel golf in NY

There is one state where FanDuel users cannot play paid-entry fantasy golf: New York.

While New York legalized and regulated DFS in 2016, FanDuel and other sites still operate under a temporary license. That is complicating FanDuel offering a new sport on its platform in the state

FanDuel offered this statement:

We are disappointed for our New York users that the New York Gaming Commission has taken the position that it cannot authorize fantasy sports operators to launch paid contests for sports they did not offer prior to November 2015 under the temporary license. We do not believe the temporary permitting process was intended to preclude New York users from being able to participate in fantasy contests that comply with the New York statute.

But, as we work through this issue with the Commission, we will block paid entries from New York in new sports.  We hope to resolve this issue soon so we can offer the same product innovations to our New York users that are enjoyed by sports fans around the country, and begin generating additional tax revenue for the state from these contests.

PGA Tour coming around on DFS

The new FanDuel offering comes as the PGA Tour appears to have been softening its stance on daily fantasy sports and sports betting.

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had good things to say about the space. And DraftKings has a relationship with a PGA Tour golfer.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.