Daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators FanDuel and DraftKings have welcomed the decision of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law legislation that legalises DFS contests.
Cuomo signed the legislation Wednesday, which had passed each legislative house with strong support.
With the Senate bill securing 45 votes in favour and 17 against, and the Assembly version approved by 91 votes to 22, Cuomo could have decided to allow the bill to lapse into law due to the strong support. However, he has decided to formally sign the bill, lending his support to the game.
The bill sees operators taxed at 15 per cent of gross gaming revenue, and requires them to pay a registration fee of between $5,000 and $100,000, determined by revenue. Companies will have to secure a licence from the New York State Gaming Commission to operate, which must be renewed every three years.
“I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed the daily fantasy sports legislation into law, allowing thousands of New Yorkers the opportunity to continue playing these games that they have been playing for over a decade,” said Senator John Bonacic, who introduced the bill in the Senate. “With strong consumer protections and economic benefits to the state, I believe this legislation can serve as a model for the rest of the country.”
“Fantasy sports are more than online games – they have the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue for New York State,” added Assemblyman J Gary Pretlow. “This bill will allow these companies to continue operating while ensuring fans have a safe environment to play in.
“I am proud Governor Cuomo has signed this legislation to keep fantasy sports in New York and I thank my partners in the legislature for their work in getting this legislation passed.”
Tax raised from DFS operations is expected to rise to US$4m once the legislation is fully implemented, and will be used to fund state education aid in New York.
“Daily fantasy sports have proven to be popular in New York, but until now have operated with no supervision and no protections for players,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation strikes the right balance that allows this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators, new consumer protections, and more funding for education.”
Last year New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused DFS giants FanDuel and DraftKings of operating illegal gambling businesses, threatening severe consequences should they fail to withdraw from the state. This sparked a wave of DFS regulation across the country.
“We are thrilled Governor Cuomo has signed the fantasy sports bill and we thank him for his support of this important legislation,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said. “We are excited to have our DraftKings contests return to New York and bring the fun and excitement of DFS back to our fans.
“We would like to thank our hundreds of thousands of New York supporters for their passion and loyalty over the past several months,” he continued, referring to the petition set up in support of DFS. “Your hard work and efforts have made an incredible difference."
FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles added: “As you undoubtedly know, the New York legislature recently passed a fantasy sports law, making New York the seventh state to enact legislation protecting your right to play fantasy sports. And today, Governor Cuomo signed that bill into law, meaning that we will be bringing our contests back to our home state, once and for all.
“This is a momentous day for the fantasy industry, and I can say on behalf of every FanDuel employee that we owe this moment to you — our New York users — who supported us throughout this entire time,” Eccles said. “That support was absolutely remarkable. More than 110,000 letters and nearly 3,000 calls were made directly to lawmakers from sports fans around the state who told their legislators that they love fantasy sports.”
Peter Schoenke, chairman of industry body the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), added: "Behind the leadership of Sen. John Bonacic, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow and, now, Governor Cuomo, New York passed a law with important consumer protections and took into consideration the needs of many different types of businesses in our industry.
"The FSTA will continue working hard to convince other states to pass similar, common-sense legislation that protects consumers and supports all of our member businesses."