Game on! Cuomo signs bill allowing FanDuel, DraftKings to legally operate in NY

Fantasy sports startups shut down operations in March despite opening new offices in city

From left: 300 Park Avenue South and 400 Lafayette Street (inset: Andrew Cuomo)
From left: 300 Park Avenue South and 400 Lafayette Street (inset: Andrew Cuomo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation that legalizes the controversial fantasy sports websites and puts them under the watchful eye of the state Gaming Commission, the New York Daily News reported.

“Daily fantasy sports have proven to be popular in New York, but until now have operated with no supervision and no protections for players,” Cuomo said in a statement.

In March, FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo shuttered their daily fantasy sports operations in New York after State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused them of violating the state’s gambling laws.

Schneiderman said he would “enforce and defend” the new law, but plans to proceed prosecuting claims of false advertising and consumer fraud against the companies.

FanDuel in January said it would stay put at its 41,000-square-foot office at Rockrose Development’s 300 Park Avenue South. Boston-based DraftKings decided to sublease its 23,500-square-foot space at Alvin Flaster’s 400 Lafayette Street.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

As of June the two companies were in talks to merge with each other.

New York is the eighth state to clarify its laws on the legality of daily fantasy sports since January.

FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles touted the new law as a “capstone achievement” for his industry.

“With the future of fantasy sports affirmed in New York we expect our legislative momentum will only accelerate as more states address the issue,” he said.

Under the new rules, the websites will have to obtain licenses from the state and pay a tax equal to 15 percent of gross revenues after prizes have been taken out, as well as an additional .5-percent tax to pay for the licensing fee. [NYDN]Rich Bockmann