Fantasy Becomes Reality in New York: DFS Giants Respond to New Legislation

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The signing of the bill came somewhat abruptly, as Cuomo had just requested the bill be sent to him on Tuesday, but many industry insiders believed the actual signing was a mere formality. His request of the bill was seen as an attempt to get temporary permits issued to those DFS companies which had been operating in the state prior to Nov. 10, 2015, before the start of football season.

It isn’t unusual for the governor to wait until September or October to request bills from the legislature, so the timing of his request was believed to be a good sign for daily fantasy players, but an even better day DFS sites, such as FanDuel or DraftKings.

“We are thrilled Governor Cuomo has signed the fantasy sports bill and we thank him for his support of this important legislation,” said DraftKings CEO Jason Robins in a statement. “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. Your hard work and efforts have made an incredible difference.”

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles was also quick to weigh in on the ruling.

 “On behalf of more than three million fantasy players across the state and our entire company, we want to sincerely thank Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature — led by bill sponsors Senator John Bonacic, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Speaker Carl Heastie — for bringing fantasy sports back to New York,” Eccles said in a press release.

Cuomo and his staff are believed to have played a large part in the reduction of the cost of getting a license, instead making New York heavily dependent on the revenue the DFS companies generate within the state. The bill calls for a 15-percent on the gross revenue generated by the company, as well as an additional tax of one-half percent, not to exceed $50,000 in lieu of a licensing fee. This fee structure will allow the smaller DFS sites an opportunity to compete in the lucrative New York market, as opposed to having to pay a one-time $500,000 licensing fee that was in Sen. John Bonacic’s original bill.

 While the decision to allow daily fantasy sports in New York was a huge victory for DFS sites, as the Empire State accounts for roughly 13 percent of revenue, there are other challenges looming ahead, but the daily fantasy sports will enter those legal fights with plenty of momentum.

“Last fall, amidst national controversy, some pundits put fantasy sports on death watch,” Eccles said. “But when the calendar turned to 2016 and fantasy sports fans had the opportunity to be heard and legislators had the opportunity to act, the dynamic quickly shifted, and one by one states began to recognize this is a game loved by millions – millions who should be able to play and deserve the basic protections afforded to consumers in all major industries. With the future of fantasy sports affirmed in New York we expect our legislative momentum will only accelerate as more states address the issue. Fantasy sports fans: take comfort; FanDuel’s future is bright.”

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