FanDuel Has Deal In Place With New York Racino, As Fantasy Sports Bill Hangs In Balance

Posted on June 16, 2016

[toc]If New York formally legalizes daily fantasy sports over the next two days, FanDuel has a preliminary deal in place to get into business with an off-track betting and racino corporation in the state.

The New York legislature — which will adjourn either today or tomorrow — is rushing to attempt to legalize the DFS industry.

The basics of the FanDuel-Western Regional OTB deal

The news of the deal with Western Regional Off-Track Betting and DFS operator FanDuel was first reported by the Buffalo News, and was confirmed by FanDuel to Legal Sports Report.

The two companies have entered into a “memorandum of understanding to enter into a financial arrangement with FanDuel,” according to the Buffalo News.

The deal is not finalized — for obvious reasons — and details of how the relationship would work are unknown. FanDuel and DraftKings do not operate in New York, currently, as a part of a settlement with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Possibilities would include running FanDuel as a white-label platform, or simply promotion of FanDuel online, at Western Regional’s racino Batavia Downs and in WR’s OTB parlors (32 in all). From a FanDuel statement (see below), live fantasy contests are apparently in the cards, as well.

Western Regional takes wagers on horse racing online.

One NY gaming entity, standing alone?

The New York Gaming Association has put up what is believed to be a stout lobbying effort against the DFS legislation as written — racinos in the state want DFS to be tied to land-based gaming licensees.

Batavia Downs is owned and operated by Western Regional — a racino that is a part of the NYGA.

A FanDuel spokesperson offered this statement to the BN and LSR:

“The New York gaming lobby’s position never made any sense, and this is proof-positive of why. Fantasy sports can be an economic driver across the state and partner with business in many verticals. We have partnerships with dozens of New York companies, from the Buffalo Bills, Nets and Jets to local catering companies and event services. The opportunities for bringing our players together for live events is nearly endless, and smart companies like Batavia see the opportunity.”

No more DraftDay with WR?

The Buffalo News reported that the FanDuel deal was agreed to after a planned deal with Sportech ended.

Sportech runs online wagering for Western Regional. Sportech is also involved in the DFS site/ white-label operator DraftDay in a deal done in September of last year. The partnership, therefore, would have made a lot of sense logistically.

DraftDay confirmed with LSR it no longer had a deal in place with Western Regional but had no further on-the-record comment.

 What’s going on with NY legislation

In the middle of the FanDuel news is a late push to formally legalize the DFS industry in NY.

As of the writing of this story, an Assembly bill had cleared four different committees on Thursday and was headed to that chamber’s floor. However, it appears it won’t be voted on until after midnight Eastern time:

No action had yet been taken on Senate legislation as of Thursday afternoon.

The legislature originally planned to adjourn on Thursday, but it appears the statehouse will push its final day to Friday.

Photo by zombieite used under license CC BY 2.0

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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.

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