Local fans of online daily fantasy sports websites are on the sidelines, following a State Supreme Court judge's ruling to block such sites from doing business within New York State.
Friday morning in New York City, Justice Manuel Mendez issued the order and also denied attempts by the two leading daily fantasy sports sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, to stop State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's efforts to cease such businesses in New York State.
Schneiderman insists the games are illegal, based on chance as opposed to skill, but the website operators disagree.
The Attorney General welcomed Friday's ruling in a written statement: "We are pleased with the decision, consistent with our view that DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal gambling operations in clear violation of New York law. I have said from the beginning that my job is to enforce the law, and that is what happened today."
Meanwhile, Congressman Chris Collins - a critic of Schneiderman's effort to bar such games in New York State - expressed his disappointment in the judge's decision. WBFO contacted Collins just moments after the ruling was announced by Associated Press. While Collins had not yet reviewed Mendez's order when speaking to WBFO, he criticized New York State for "hypocrisy" in going after sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel, all while the state itself is in the business of games of chance.
Those games are the New York State Lottery.
"They are encouraging people every day to participate and, frankly, to lose money," Collins said.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m. A state appeals court judge is temporarily allowing daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel to keep operating in New York, blocking a lower court ruling while the issue is fully considered.
State Supreme Court Appellate Division Associate Justice Paul Feinman granted the emergency motion filed by the companies late Friday, several hours after a lower judge ordered them to stop taking business in New York.
The order allows FanDuel and DraftKings to keep operating in New York through at least next month. A full panel of the judges will then rule on whether the companies can do business in in the state while the appeals process unfolds.
A spokesman says state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman looks forward to convincing the appellate division to continue the earlier ban.
Schneiderman has argued the games are illegal gambling operations. The companies have said their contests are games of skill, not chance.