A New York Supreme Court judge declined to issue an immediate ruling on a request by the state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for an injunction that would have effectively ended the ability of daily fantasy sports sites to operate in the state.
Judge Manuel Mendez told the court that “you will get my decision. It will come very soon.”
“We were glad to have the opportunity to make our case to the court that DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal gambling operations in clear violation of the law, and we await the judge’s decision,” said Damien LaVera, spokesperson for Attorney General Schneiderman.
“Today, we presented compelling evidence that Daily Fantasy Sports competitions are as legal now as they have been for the past seven years that New Yorkers have been playing them. We look forward to Justice Mendez’s ruling,” said a DraftKings spokesperson.
What way will the decision come down?
Attorney and gaming law expert Jeff Ifrah suggested to LSR that handicapping an outcome at this stage is a difficult business.
“We must not forget, the Attorney General is the elected official by the people of NY to enforce NY law. That point is not lost on any given NYS elected Judge on any given day. It is not a simple thing to rule against the AG, especially in a case where the “right” answer is not immediately apparent,” Ifrah said.
“But,” Ifrah continued, “it certainly looks like the AG did himself no favors by immediately recognizing the legality of season long fantasy. That may have the Judge scratching his head.”
“One thing is clear,” concluded Ifrah. “The Court gave consideration to both sides and it may be difficult to argue his decision – whichever way it comes out – is unreasonable per se.”
Recap of the hearing
The hearing took place over two hours – an increase over the original schedule of one hour – with each side allotted one hour:
- The NYAG took the first half-hour and reserved the remainder for rebuttal.
- Counsel for FanDuel followed, with a one-hour lunch break cutting their argument in the middle.
- Counsel for DraftKings followed.
- The NYAG then offered their rebuttal, followed by brief rebuttals from FanDuel and DraftKings.
For the first part of the hearing, both sides hewed closely to the briefs they had filed in advance of the hearing.
Judge Mendez refrained from questioning for much of the hearing. The first interjection from the bench came nearly an hour into the proceedings:
Another characterization of Mendez’s remark:
Mendez raised another point during rebuttals:
That was the full extent of Judge Mendez’s back-and-forth with the attorneys arguing the case.
Timeline of events in the NY DFS case
How did we get to this point in the New York DFS case?
- News of an initial probe by Schneiderman’s office broke October 6.
- On October 8, Schneiderman characterized daily fantasy sports sites as “totally unregulated gambling venues” during an interview with CBS.
- Following those comments, there was little public word from Schneiderman on the issue, even as a New York lawmaker introduced a bill to regulate fantasy sports in late October.
- On Nov. 10, Schneiderman issued cease and desist letters to both DraftKings and FanDuel. Neither site immediately left the NY market in the wake of those letters.
- On Nov. 13, FanDuel announced it would stop taking deposits from New York players, which led to them no longer accepting entry fees from any New York user a few days later.
- On the same day, both FanDuel and DraftKings sought to preemptively stop any action by the AG.
- Temporary restraining orders were asked for by both the DFS operators on Nov. 16. The TROs were denied and today’s court date was set.
- Schneiderman filed for an injunction to force DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in New York.
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