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Fantasy sports fans, rejoice — it’s legal again in New York

Ethan Shibutani

Fantasy sports just had a fantasy of their own come true. On the last day of the New York Assembly’s current session, lawmakers voted to legalize fantasy sports in the state. The legislation now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk, where it will await his signature to become law. The decision comes as a huge win for the fantasy sports industry, which has faced considerable debate throughout the year regarding the legality of its practices, as it could be considered gambling.

Indeed, New York has historically had the toughest legislation when it comes to fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings, ordering the site to cease and desist operations late in 2015. Shortly thereafter, other states, including Texas and Illinois, as well as the District of Columbia, raised similar concerns over the practice. Now, however, it looks as though New York has changed its tune, and sites like DraftKings have already expressed their enthusiasm.

“DraftKings is extremely pleased that the New York Assembly and Senate have voted to provide a sensible framework for regulating daily fantasy sports in the Empire State,” said DraftKings Co-Founder and CEO Jason Robins. “Because of their actions, as well as the unwavering commitment from our supporters, millions of New Yorkers may soon be able to continue playing the games they love. From the very beginning, we have been committed to working with New York officials to develop model daily fantasy sports regulations that ensure transparency and robust consumer protections in the biggest U.S. market.”

The new bill (which can be read in its entirety here), creates a loophole for DraftKings and others by allowing “regulated interactive fantasy sports contests with an entry fee.” The legislation also protects players by restricting anyone under 18 from participating while also ensuring that accurate odds of winning are represented in all marketing and advertising materials, enabling players to permanently exclude themselves from future games at any time, and identifying highly experienced players on the platform.

“We would like to thank Senator John Bonacic and Assembly Member Gary Pretlow for their leadership on this issue,” Robins continued. “We are hopeful that Governor Cuomo will sign this important bill into law, and we will continue working closely with state officials on sound implementation of all forthcoming rules and regulations.”

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