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New twist in legal battle

Citigroup halts payments for FanDuel games

Nigel EcclesA new front has opened in the ongoing battle over the legality of fantasy sports games.

Citigroup is said to be blocking debit and credit card payments from New York customers of FanDuel and DraftKings.

The ban will remain in place until a court in the city makes a final decision on whether of the daily versions of the games breach US laws on online gambling.

FanDuel, co-headquartered in Edinburgh and New York, is headed by Nigel Eccles (pictured) who has openly supported regulation.

The industry has been thrown into turmoil since New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a “cease and desist” order to FanDuel and DraftKings in November

Both companies insist that they offer “games of skill” which is legal and have contested Mr Schneiderman’s order. They achieved a ruling that they could continue to operate pending the final outcome.

Citgroup is the second payment processor to stop payments to the fantasy websites. Vantiv Entertainment Solutions has also suspended transactions.

FanDuel told a website that it was “unaware of Citigroup’s attempts to prohibit their New York based customers from playing fantasy sports.”

It said there are other payment options for customers.

In recent weeks orders against the playing of daily fantasy sports games have also been issued by the attorney generals in Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Vermont.

The fantasy sports games industry is worth billions of dollars in the US and Mr Eccles told an audience in Edinburgh last year that there were plans to bring the phenomenon to Britain.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings are looking to launch operations in the UK where their legality will not be an issue.

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