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Backing for disputed games

Boost for FanDuel as New York allows fantasy sports

Nigel EcclesFanDuel and its fantasy sports games rivals are close to winning a key legal battle in the US.

The New York Senate has passed legislation that will allow the games to be played in the state.

The bill, which was already approved by the Assembly, now goes to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom has ten days to sign it or veto it. Doing nothing will lead to it becoming law.

The companies have been fighting claims that they breach strict online gambling laws, arguing that they are games of chance.

They have been negotiating on a state-by-state basis and, while some have passed laws allowing them to operate, the decision by New York is a huge boost in securing the future of the industry.

New York accounts for 10% of all daily fantasy sports players in the United States and this user base was threatened by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who issued a “cease and desist” notice on New York and Edinburgh based FanDuel and its biggest rival DraftKings, based in Boston.

FanDuel chief executive Nigel Eccles (pictured) recently warned in a letter to New York state legislators that it would quit the city and relocate its 175 staff unless the bill was approved.

The firms will now hope that getting it passed into law will have a domino effect across the US. They will also derive more confidence from investors who have cooled on the sector since the dispute was first sparked last autumn.

In a statement issued after the Senate’s decision, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association said: “New York has set the tone for legislation nationwide. We’re confident that other states will follow the Empire State’s lead and pass common-sense legislation that protects consumers and supports business.”

FanDuel has confirmed that it will be launching its games in the UK in August.


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