New York Online Poker Odds Could Improve, Thanks to Daily Fantasy Sports Settlement

March 26th, 2016 | by Jason Reynolds

New York online poker odds might have improved this week, following a deal reached between State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and daily fantasy sports (DFS) market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

John Bonacic New York online poker DFS

State Senator John Bonacic thinks New York online poker and daily fantasy sports should be legal in his state. The odds of those markets becoming regulated may have improved this week. (Image: nysenate.gov)

On Monday, Schneiderman and the two leading DFS operators confirmed a settlement deal had been struck that halts ongoing litigation. DraftKings and FanDuel will no longer accept wagers from New York residents, and Schneiderman will pause his proceedings against the platforms that he believes have been facilitating illegal online gambling services.

The terms of the pact will extend until an appellate hearing scheduled for September.

“I’m pleased to announce that both FanDuel and DraftKings will stop taking bets in New York State, consistent with New York State law,” Schneiderman said in a press release.

Poker Connection

DraftKings ended its relationship with the World Series of Poker ahead of the November Nine last fall after DFS was determined to be illegal in Nevada by State Attorney General Adam Laxalt. It was the AG’s opinion that fantasy sports did not fall into the “skill-based” category, and only poker is allowed online per the state’s gaming commission.

But in the Empire State, multiple key lawmakers in the state are fighting for online poker, and with Schneiderman deferring his lawsuits against the companies until the fall, now might be the perfect time to try to get under the iPoker umbrella.

State Senator John Bonacic (R-District 42), who chairs the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, is New York’s champion for both daily fantasy sports and online poker. Bonacic has introduced legislation to regulate the markets, but to date the two separate bills remain in Senate committees.

Gambling on Skill

Since its inception, daily fantasy sports companies have been exempted from the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). UIGEA made it illegal for payment processors, including banks, to either accept withdrawals from or allow deposits into gambling sites for American citizens, but DFS and horse racing were specifically excluded from its grip.

And that’s what so many Empire State legislators, including Senator Bonacic, want to amend.

“Presently, numerous New York residents are participating in illegal, unregulated and unsafe gaming operations which offer games of chance over the Internet,” Bonacic reasons in his iPoker legislation. “This bill will allow the state to license operators that meet the high standards set by the state and offer limited games of poker which require a high level of skill.”

Next Steps

There are several ways lawmakers in New York can move forward.

It appears the most likely path is that legislators will push a DFS-only bill and either address online poker in the future or potentially pass it along with the next budget. On Tuesday, a Senate resolution included iPoker into its most recent economic plan, much to the delight of Internet poker advocates.

However, the preferred method for online gaming proponents would be to kill two birds with one stone and combine DFS and iPoker into a single movement. It might not happen, but it would certainly form the largest iGaming coalition.

One Comment

  1. Charles Humphrey says:

    The article asserts that DFS was exempted by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. I believe that is wrong. The UIGEA was written at a time when all fantasy sports were conducted on a season-long basis. DFS bets are made on a short term contests with terms dictated by the DFS sites.

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