On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to legalize internet fantasy sports in New York, making it the eighth state to pass fantasy sports legislation since the beginning of the year.
The new law will go into effect immediately, and comes five months after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued cease-and-desist orders and sued the two biggest daily fantasy sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, for violating the state’s gambling laws.
“We will allow them to operate and the preliminary injunction would likely be lifted, but we would continue the additional claims against false advertising,” says a spokesperson for the attorney general.
A recent poll of New York State registered voters opposed (45-37 percent) allowing daily fantasy sports companies to operate. The bill requires fantasy sports companies to register with the New York State Gaming Commission, giving them to power to regulate the sites, and promises to “take steps to institute important consumer protections for players” including introductory lessons and the protection of players’ funds.
“Daily fantasy sports have proven to be popular in New York, but until now have operated with no supervision and no protection for players,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “This legislation strikes the right balance that allows this activity to continue with oversight from state regulators, new consumer protections, and more funding for education.”
The state of New York will get 15.5 percent of revenues — an amount the governor’s office says is expected to be $4 million a year. The funds will go toward school aid supported by the New York State Lottery.
Keith Bergerstock, a 27-year-old daily fantasy sports player from upstate New York, started a Change.org petition and wrote to his state senator urging him to legalize daily fantasy sports, or “DFS.”
“Not many people signed the petition, but the senator wrote me back, and the governor signed the bill — so that’s awesome,” says Bergerstock. “I was hoping it’d happen before the start of the football season, and it did.”