What are the odds? Daily fantasy sports win reprieve in N.Y

Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:23pm EST
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By Michael Erman and Suzanne Barlyn

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Leading daily fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings won a temporary reprieve allowing them to keep operating in New York through the New Year, reversing for now an order by a state judge to close the businesses in the state.

New York State Appeals Court Judge Paul Feinman temporarily suspended an injunction granted earlier in the day by New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez.

Mendez had stopped short of deciding whether daily fantasy sports are a game of skill or chance under New York law, but ruled that there was a likelihood that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would be able to prove that the games are illegal if the matter goes to trial.

The short-term stay, issued in an emergency appeal filed by FanDuel and DraftKings on Friday, allows the companies to do business in New York until at least Jan. 4, a DraftKings lawyer said. After that a panel of judges will rule on whether the injunction granted by Mendez was appropriate.

"This is a necessary first step on the road to an appeal," said DraftKings' attorney Randy Mastro, a partner at law firm Gibson Dunn. "We are confident we will prevail in appeal because daily fantasy sports are legal in New York."

Schneiderman last month sent cease and desist letters to the companies demanding that they stop taking money from players in the state.

FanDuel stopped letting New York state residents play the games after receiving the letter, but DraftKings has continued operating as usual.

Since FanDuel stopped taking money from New Yorkers, entry fees in the company's weekly National Football League (NFL) games have dropped by about 25 percent, according to data from fantasy sports analytics company SuperLobby.   Continued...

A FanDuel logo is displayed on a board inside of the DFS Players Conference in New York November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson