- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2016

Daily fantasy sports can operate in New York for the foreseeable future.

According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, DraftKings and FanDuel have received a permanent injunction against state officials’ efforts to shut down their business.

The ruling, by the Appellate Division of the New York state Supreme Court, makes permanent an emergency stay granted last month by one of its members.

That Dec. 11 stay by Justice Manuel Mendez let daily-fantasy-sports sites continue to operate while issues are litigated about whether they are illegal gambling sites.

The office of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman had sought to shut the sites down, sending them “cease and desist” orders, while the case is being heard.

“We are pleased with the Court’s ruling today,” DraftKings attorney David Boies said in a statement. “Daily Fantasy Sports contests are as legal now as they have been for the past seven years that New Yorkers have been playing them.”

Several other states, including the gambling mecca of Nevada, had joined New York in defining the sites as “gambling” or “a game of chance,” rather than “a game of skill.”

In daily fantasy sports, the participants pick professional-sports players, and win or lose leagues based on a single round of those players’ game statistics.

Every state either forbids online gambling or requires that it be regulated and taxed like casinos and similar outlets. So whether daily fantasy sports, which has exploded in popularity into a multibillion-dollar business in the past couple of years, is “gambling” is a lucrative question.

On the one hand, the outcome is clearly affected by chance and outside the team-owners’ ability to affect — Tom Brady has bad games, and Mark Sanchez has great ones. But the sites maintain that the process of picking a team is a game of skill and thus the activity is not “gambling.”

“If you randomly picked a fantasy lineup and played against someone who put thought into it, they would beat you 9 times out of 10, if not more,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins once said on ESPN. “So [daily fantasy is] pretty different, I think, from sports books where even though there is some advantage that can be had, the edges are so minimal that it is primarily chance-based.”

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