The New York Assembly passed legislation that would legalize daily fantasy sports in the state on Friday — the last day of the session for the statehouse — but no action had yet been taken in the Senate as of Friday afternoon.
The backstory for DFS in NY
New York is attempting to legalize the DFS industry, in the wake of months of legal wrangling in the state.
FanDuel and DraftKings do not operate in New York, currently, as a part of a settlement with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman entered into in March. In November, Schneiderman issued cease-and-desist orders to those two DFS operators, setting up a court battle and the eventual settlement.
Should the legislature not succeed in legalizing DFS, the case will head back to the courts in New York.
What the Assembly did Friday
The Assembly passed A 10736 on Friday by a vote of 91-22. That came after a busy Thursday, in which the bill made it through four different committees in lopsided votes.
Those votes indicated that the legislation would have smooth sailing when it came in front of the full Assembly.
The legislative effort had been on hiatus for months, until a bill from sponsor Gary Pretlow was introduced in late May, setting up the rush to legalize DFS.
Debate on the DFS bill
The outcome of the vote in the Assembly was not considered in doubt. Pretlow introduced the bill, and Assemblymember Dean Murray — long a champion of DFS legalization — gave an impassioned speech in support.
“Gary has been very patient, has worked very diligently in trying to listen to all sides and craft what I think is a very good bill,” Murray said. “It offers up consumer protections and oversight while generating revenue, and that revenue will be going to education.”
A few members rose in opposition, saying they believe DFS is gambling and questioning whether the bill as written would violate the state constitution. Pretlow dismissed those concerns, insisting the legislature can define fantasy sports as not gambling, and therefore “not subject to the provisions of the constitution.”
Among those in opposition was Assemblymember Andy Goodell, the cousin of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He decried DFS as being “like any other type of sports gambling.”
What’s next for DFS legislation
The Assembly vote is progress for the DFS bill. But an identical version of the bill in the Senate still needs to make it through committee votes and a full vote of the Senate, as well.
According to media that cover the NY legislature, the number of senators supporting the DFS bill has been in question in recent days, which has stunted its progress. The latest:
Senate Majority Leader Flanagan,after meeting with Cuomo, on #DFS chances: “There’s a lot of moving parts.” Talks later with GOP senators.
— Tom Precious (@TomPreciousALB) June 17, 2016
What those “moving parts” are, and what might be holding up the bill’s progress other than concerns about its passage, are unknown. Racinos have actively opposed the bill, as has the politically influential Conservative Party.
Reports out of the capitol in Albany also indicate that the statehouse will be in session late into the evening, or perhaps even adjourn and meet again on Monday.