Future of daily fantasy sports in NY now on Cuomo's desk

Aug 3, 2016

Governor Andrew Cuomo has not dropped any hints as to whether he'll sign or veto a bill legalizing daily fantasy sports gaming in New York. He has until the end of next week to make a decision, but local legislators who voted in favor of letting DraftKings and FanDuel do business in this state aren't worried.

The bill, passed by the New York State Legislature in its most recent session, arrived on Governor Cuomo's desk on Tuesday. He has ten days to decide one way or another. In the event he does nothing, the bill automatically becomes law.

Supporters of daily fantasy sports games operated by companies including FanDuel and DraftKings are awaiting a decision by Governor Cuomo, who now has on his desk the bill legalizing such games in New York State.

In the meantime, Cuomo has been tight-lipped about his thoughts. This, say two Western New York-based State Senators, is no cause for alarm by those awaiting the games.

Democrat Tim Kennedy of Buffalo believes Cuomo is well aware of the strong support for such games, both in the public and within the Legislature.

"It's actually been legalized across the nation. New York State should be in line with the rest of the nation," Kennedy said on Tuesday. "No one should have to sit back and watch others in other states compete and play something like daily fantasy sports and not be able to do it in the State of New York."

Republican Robert Ortt of North Tonawanda says there's a pending agreement involving one of the major daily fantasy sports operators that would provide an economic boost for Western New York. In June, FanDuel reached a tentative agreement with Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public-benefit corporation owned by 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, to host daily fantasy sports games inside OTB locations.

Under that agreement, Ortt said, municipalities would receive a share of revenues from daily fantasy sports games.

"The reality is there's a lot of folks across New York State who want to play this," said Ortt, who told WBFO he does not participate in such games. "They want to do this. We are here to represent the people."

The games and the companies operating them have their critics. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has previously pursued legal action to shut down the sites in New York State, citing reasons including concerns for the games' fairness and transparency. 

Supporters of the games, though, say daily fantasy sports are not mere games of chance but require some savvy to win prize money, because they involve the need to pick real-life players whose on-field performances help fantasy players score points in their contests.