State Sen. Addabbo Puts Forward Bill to Grant More Temporary DFS Operator Licenses

State Sen. Addabbo Puts Forward Bill to Grant More Temporary DFS Operator Licenses
By Lou Monaco
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Less than 24 hours after the New York Court of Appeals (NYCA) declared daily fantasy sports (DFS) was here to stay, a state Senator introduced a bill to expand the amount of DFS operators within the Empire State.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Jr., who is also the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, on Wednesday introduced Bill S8628 (Assembly version: A9449), which relates to issuing temporary permits to certain fantasy sports operators that were not offering contests to persons located in New York before Nov. 10, 2015 when DFS became legal in New York.

Those operators may apply for a temporary permit, subject to approval by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), provided that the operator meets all regulatory approvals.

The Senate and Assembly versions of the bill are both in their respective committees, with the next step to get on the on the floor calendars of each.

Addabbo’s Take on Timing

Addabbo, who has been a fierce advocate of DFS, mobile sports betting and other avenues to create revenue, spoke by phone late Wednesday with EmpireStakes.com.

"Right now, it’s budget time, and we want bring it up for discussion," Addabbo said. "We are in the last few days before the budget deadline, which is April 1, so we will see what happens.

“We don't want to rush anything. We want to make sure it’s right for the state and for New Yorkers."

What Tuesday DFS Ruling Means

On Tuesday, the NYCA issued a 58-page decision that ruled that DFS is safe and sound in the state, declared constitutional by a vote of 4-3.

The ruling, in essence, says that fantasy sports are not considered gambling by the Constitution of the state of New York. Daily fantasy is to be considered as a game of skill, rather than a game of chance.

Fantasy sports are games in which players put together their rosters of athletes in a sport, then determine the winner by using the players’ stats.

Draft Kings and FanDuel have been the two main DFS operators in the state.

After the decision, the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) released a statement that read, in part:

“We welcome today’s ruling in the New York State Court of Appeals that fantasy sports can be regulated as games of skill and need not be treated as gambling under the New York Constitution.

“... The highest court in New York affirmed that the state legislature had the authority to regulate fantasy sports contests as games of skill. ... With this decision, the over 3.5 million fantasy sports enthusiasts in New York will continue to be able to play all the games they love.”

Tuesday’s decision reverses a previous court decision last year that found daily fantasy sports violated the state Constitution’s ban on gambling.

No Effect on Mobile Sports Betting

The lawsuit, which was brought about several years ago, did not target mobile sports betting. Mobile wagering began in New York on Jan. 8 with four mobile operators: Caesars Sportsbook New York, Rush Street International (parent company of Bet Rivers New York), FanDuel New York and DraftKings New York.

That number has since expanded to eight, with BetMGM New York, PointsBet New York, WynnBET New York and Resorts World New York all launching. Bally Bet has said it plans to launch in April.

DFS has been legal in the Empire State since Aug. 3, 2016, when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law allowing daily sports fantasy platforms to legally operate within the state.

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Contributors

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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