Schneiderman to fantasy sports companies: get out of New York

“After a month-long investigation, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is sending cease-and-desist letters to DraftKings and FanDuel — essentially banning the two sites from operating in New York. Schneiderman feels that they are illegal gambling sites, rather than offering games of skill as both companies argue.” [Neal Ungerleider/Fast Company, David Marcus/Federalist, earlier]

More: “I challenge you to a fantasy football duel, Eric Schneiderman” [Paul McPolin, New York Post]


  • It’s odd–and to me contradictory–that an activity can be both (a) a game of chance, and (b) subject to influence by insider information, at the same time.

    • A game can involve both skill/knowledge and chance. Imagine a game in which you throw two dice. You see the result. Your opponent does not. You bet on whether the two dice have matching values. After the bet is made, the dice are revealed. Such a game is a game of chance since it is a matter of chance whether the two dice match. It is also a matter of skill because the best strategy depends on the ability to calculate odds and on the ability to bluff convincingly.

      There are games of pure skill, such as chess, but virtually none of pure chance since even games involving a large element of chance require at least some understanding of the rules in order to formulate the best strategy.

  • I wonder how this could be enforced. If a guy from NYgets a new email address, puts NJ as his home state, and bets with prepaid debit cards, how could the NY Gestapo get him n practice?

  • I’m trying to understand the difference between fantasy sports sites and betting on horse races. In both cases the player looks at the previous performance of the available choices and the competition of the next contest or race and then chooses where to bet his money. Betting on the horses involves a degree of skill for the serious bettor as does fantasy sports leagues. Yet, betting on the horses is gambling. What’s the diff?

    • Fantasy sports leagues only work for team sports.

      Here is how it works.

      1. Each player forms their own team in the fantasy league.
      2. The players have an opportunity to draft real players from real pro teams to staff their team.
      3. Each week the fantasy teams are scored by evaluating the individual performance of the individual team players in their real world games. Real world team Win/Loss results don’t matter.
      4. At the end of the season whoever has the highest scoring fantasy team wins.
      5. There may or may not be a prize for the winning team. Some fantasy leagues don’t give you anything more than bragging rights.

      It’s a huge difference from betting on horse races.

  • But betting on the performance of a publicly traded company is “investing”.

    Your error, if I may be so bold, is in thinking our gov’t is in any way consistent in its nanny state-ism. If there is any consistency at all, its in the fact that things that pay specialized taxes to the state tend to be legal, those that don’t, aren’t. Institutionalized graft on display for all to see – “this is illegal, unless you pay for the license to do so and/or give us a cut of the profits”

  • How much of the pari-mutuel handle ends up in the state’s coffers? That’s the difference.