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Fantasy sports has been deemed unconstitutional by New York courts.

  • A New York appellate court sides against DFS in their final ruling.
  • The case was brought forth by a lawsuit from four citizens of NY who are against gambling.
  • Officials are expected to bring the case to the Court Of Appeals.

ALBANY, N.Y.New York fantasy sports players just took a big loss as it was deemed unconstitutional in a New York Supreme Courts Appellate Division.

The ruling came following a multiyear long legal battle over the law NY Governor Andrew Cuomo approved in 2016 that legalized fantasy sports betting.

Four NY residents challenged the law, and the courts ruling on Thursday was in favor of the residents, officially outlawing fantasy sports betting in the Empire State.

Legal Proceedings

When Gov. Cuomo originally passed the law in August 2016 that allowed fantasy sports in the state, the argument in favor was that it didn’t qualify as gambling, therefore should be allowed.

The 2016 amendment to the NY gambling laws, declared that fantasy sports were not illegal gambling but defined as games of chance.

In October, following the appeal, the law was challenged by local residents. These citizens were victims affected by gambling as one woman, Jennifer White, has a father who was addicted to gambling and her family was constantly besieged by loan sharks and creditors.

The lawsuit argued that approving fantasy sports was carving out an illegal exemption to the States Constitution that prohibited gambling.

On Thursday, the court ruled in favor of the opposition, finding that not only can daily fantasy sports not be exempt from the penal code, but that the law itself allowing DFS was unconstitutional.

The ruling was on the basis that although DFS required skill, they also were affected by things outside the players’ control such as injury, poor officiating or bad weather, giving it a degree of chance thus making it gambling.

The residents were represented by Cornelius D. Murray who expressed being pleased by the court ruling.

“As of today,” stated Murray, “the legislation purporting to legalize daily fantasy sports is unconstitutional, so the penal law prohibiting it remains on the books.”

Affected Parties

Since the ruling has been passed, all DFS operations have been suspended in NY. Betting operators FanDuel and DraftKings both had to shut down their DFS business in the Empire State.

There is optimism for the law to be reinstated, however, as in a statement FanDuel showed confidence saying, “We expect that there will be an appeal and we’ll be able to continue to offer contests while that appeal is decided.”

There was also a statement issued by DraftKings saying that “the legislative action authorizing fantasy sports in New York was constitutional and in the best interests of taxpayers and fantasy sports fans”.

Both companies should still be able to operate their NY sportsbooks located in commercial casinos across the state, so their presence isn’t entirely lost.

NY officials plan to bring the issue to the highest court, the Court Of Appeals.

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