The New York State Gaming Commission is taking steps to bring fantasy sports and sports wagering on the same page. The industry is obviously not happy about it because it means that operators will have to modify their registrations accordingly while later incurring fees and taxes. As for the latest development, the Commission has rejected a commenter’s idea on the proposed Rule 5602.1(a)(4).
Simply put, the rule clarifies that an operation cannot be exempt from the category of sports wagering only because the operator has put a tag on the venture themselves. They will be put in the category if the Commission, after a thorough review, finds it necessary to do so. Two ventures have come under the limelight. These are Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks.
Both were previously unavailable for comment; however, the Coalition for Fantasy Sports has issued a statement in this regard. The Coalition has stated that it was unfortunate seeing FanDuel and DraftKings taking such drastic measures even though they were the ones to draft and implement such a rule. The Coalition has further stated that they have changed their tune in an attempt to create a false narrative, giving them a chance to position themselves as the only games in town.
According to the betting news, the Coalition has expressed its discomfort with the way things are playing out. It believes that FanDuel and DraftKings are doing this because they are unable to compete in the segment. Laws made by them make it clear that fantasy sports are not sports betting, the Coalition added. Now, a statement from FanDuel and DraftKings is awaited.
While they believe that the move is bad for the consumer, the fact also remains that their operations could very well be mirroring the activities of sports wagering. What makes this evident is the fact that New York is the fourth state to issue such a notice since May. Maine sent a similar notice in the last month as Ohio is conducting an investigation into five fantasy sites.
Interestingly, Underdog has received a notice in Maine as well. PrizePicks and Underdog received a letter from the Commission stating that their pick’em contests match the exact definition of sports wagering. If proven guilty, both platforms will be liable to pay heavy penalties for operating without a license. Their management could simultaneously face jail time along with a fine worth millions of US dollars. Platforms will also have to revise their terms pertaining to the minimum age of a user to register on their platforms. Companies continue to defend their operations as legal under federal law.
There is no hearing scheduled for the rule that has been proposed. It could be finalized once the comment period concludes on October 03, 2023.
PrizePicks and Underdog are sure to defend their services against the New York State Gaming Commission. The request made by a commenter has been declined, but the platforms are yet to make a defensive statement within the hearing window.