In New York, the decision to legalize fantasy sports is coming down to an end-of-session deadline this week. According to the Boston Globe, “The legislation would regulate and tax fantasy games while clarifying that they are not considered illegal gambling under state law. But if the bill isn’t passed before the Legislature adjourns June 16, then New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will likely resume his legal battle to permanently block DraftKings and FanDuel from the state.” Major fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel have been unable to operate in the state since November 2015.
Since its ban there has been an immense lobbying push to legalize fantasy sports in New York. The Boston Globe reports that “An industry lobbying group, Fantasy Sports for All, said fantasy enthusiasts had sent nearly 72,000 e-mails to legislators urging the state to pass the law. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that the fantasy sports “lobbying effort is being coordinated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc., the industry’s two biggest players. It involves 78 lobbyists in 34 states, up from four lobbyists a year ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. The companies are spending between $5 million and $10 million on the lobbying effort this year and are hoping to pass bills exempting fantasy sports from state gambling laws in at least six to eight states.”
Around the country fantasy sports industry is mounting an enormous lobbying campaign to pass favorable legislation. The efforts have so far succeeded in six states: Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. However, in Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York and Washington all, or almost all, fantasy sports operators are not permitted to take customers according to Legal Sports Report. Legislative success in New York would be seen as a crucial victory for those in favor of fantasy sports as the Boston Globe reports, “New York is the industry’s second-largest market, producing an estimated $267 million in entry fees in 2015, according to industry analyst firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.”