NY Orders Fantasy Sports Sites to Stop Taking Bets

DraftKings and FanDuel, the big players in the growing daily fantasy sports business, were ordered to stop accepting bets in New York by the state’s attorney general.

The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, said fantasy sports was illegal gambling under state law.

The two companies have become major advertisers, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on TV commercials this year. They also sponsor segments on sports shows, including some on ESPN.

Earlier this year, when it was suspected that a fantasy sports employee had used insider information to place bets, the companies stopped advertising and ESPN suspended the sponsored segements.

ESPN declined to say whether the sports fantasy sites have pulled their advertising.

“We are very disappointed that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took such hasty action today, particularly since he did not take any time to understand our business or why daily fantasy sports are clearly a game of skill,” a DraftKings spokesman said in a statement. “We strongly disagree with the reasoning in his opinion and will examine and vigorously pursue all legal options available to ensure our over half a million customers in New York State can continue to play the fantasy sports games they love.” DraftKing said officials in other states, including Florida and Illinois, plus some federal officials “take a reasoned, informed and measured approach” to fantasy sports.

“We hope this trend continues along with due consideration for over 56 million sports fans across the country who enjoy playing fantasy sports. We remain committed to working with all relevant authorities to ensure that our industry operates in a manner that is transparent and fair for all consumers,” DraftKings said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.