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The Almighty Buck The Internet

Fantasy Sports Sites Ordered To Stop Taking Bets In New York State (nytimes.com) 125

HughPickens.com writes: The NY Times reports that in a major blow to a multibillion-dollar industry that introduced sports betting to legions of young sports fans, the New York State attorney general has ordered the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, to stop accepting bets from New York residents. He said their games constituted illegal gambling under state law. "It is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multibillion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country," says NY attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, "Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch."

Fantasy sports companies contend that their games are not gambling because they involve more skill than luck, and because they were legally sanctioned by a 2006 federal law that exempted fantasy sports from a prohibition against processing online financial wagering. "Fantasy sports is a game of skill and legal under New York state law," says FanDuel. "This is a politician telling hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers they are not allowed to play a game they love and share with friends, family, co-workers and players across the country." The attorney general's office also said that ads on the two sites "seriously mislead New York citizens about their prospects of winning." State investigators found that to date, "the top 1 percent of DraftKings winners receive the vast majority of the winnings." Schneiderman's investigation was spurred after reports arose that a DraftKings employee used internal data to win $350,000 on rival site FanDuel, which the operators denied. While both companies had allowed employees to place bets on the others site, they have since banned such practices.

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Fantasy Sports Sites Ordered To Stop Taking Bets In New York State

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  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @11:09PM (#50906301)

    He can order all he wants, but unless a court of law compels them to stop his order is just an opinion.

    • unless a court of law compels them to stop his order is just an opinion.

      Well, except that his order has to be followed under the law. A court can quash it, but until then it's the current legally binding ruling.

  • Now people can stop wasting their money

  • Typical... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by slasher999 ( 513533 )

    Typical Nazi York government overreach tactics. So glad I don't pay taxes there anymore!

    • Governments all over the world tend to take a hostile view on gambling... unless they get a piece of the pie.

    • Re:Typical... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rockout ( 1039072 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @01:25AM (#50906825)
      Arizona, Montana and Nevada banned FanDuel and DraftKings long before NY did. How you got modded insightful is beyond me.
    • by Aereus ( 1042228 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @03:09AM (#50906973)
      I'll just be happy if I don't have to see their stupid adds shitting up TV constantly. 50% of all commercials being for Draft Kings or Fan Duel during NFL games is rather much...
      • Get a DVR (e.g. Tivo). Voila, no ads. Even if you insist on watching 'close to live', you can still delay enough to skip the commercials (heck, even "just" pause it a few minutes at a time if you're THAT obsessed with watching it live).

  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @11:32PM (#50906391)

    The odds are so much better!

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:06AM (#50907041)

      I know you were sarcastic, but the odds are actually better. Fantasy sports leagues aren't like the standard $50 on the outcome of the game. They are, by federal law, arranged more like a poker tournament, where the top N positions in the league (determined ahead of time) get money. Unlike poker tournaments (or the state lottery) the payouts are fixed ahead of time. So, the percentage of monies in that become monies out are frequently lower than in casino gambling or the state lottery. So the odds (payout adjusted) are worse.

      And, if it truly is a skill game, than the odds for those skilled are much better, but everyone without a degree in stats has worse likelihood, and far worse odds, than Powerball.

    • Unless you are in Illinois, where all you win is an IOU.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @11:43PM (#50906435)

    Get a PO Box in New Jersey

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @11:43PM (#50906439)

    "Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch."

    Mess with football betting, and the Democrats will finally be put out to pasture.

    • by ZipK ( 1051658 )

      Mess with football betting, and the Democrats will finally be put out to pasture.

      No one said that you can't bet on football in New York. You just need lay your bets with friends, colleagues or your local bookie.

  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2015 @11:55PM (#50906485) Journal

    How is it that Wall Street gets to operate? If we can't call it gambling, it's because it's rigged.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cytotoxic ( 245301 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @12:08AM (#50906527)

      The AG is pretty incoherent here. He's saying that it is illegal gambling, but he's also claiming that it is a problem because the top 1% of players win the lion's share of the money. Well, that'd be the case if there was a great deal of skill involved, rather than relying mostly on luck. Which was the entire point of the "it isn't gambling" position.

      Schneiderman probably should have edited his remarks better so he wasn't making the argument for the other side. I suppose prosecutorial immunity extends to mouthing off to the press so he isn't liable for slander and libel.

      • > Well, that'd be the case if there was a great deal of skill involved, r

        Skill at outright cheating at the computer level by sculpting the payouts in your personal favor, or skill at getting insider information and getting players to throw games with the right coercion, like more traditional sports betting. I'm afraid I've been watching the resurgence of sports betting by taking this particular form.

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @12:35AM (#50906639) Journal

        The AG is pretty incoherent here. He's saying that it is illegal gambling, but he's also claiming that it is a problem because the top 1% of players win the lion's share of the money. Well, that'd be the case if there was a great deal of skill involved, rather than relying mostly on luck. Which was the entire point of the "it isn't gambling" position.

        Part of the problem, and the reason this whole kerfuffle started, was that a significant percentage of the 1% of players who were winning worked for the fantasy gambling site and were getting inside information.

        It was the equivalent of casino owners getting to shoot craps in their own joint using loaded dice. There's a long history of corruption and crime surrounding legalized gambling. These fantasy sports sites are only a few years old. If they're this corrupt already, it's probably better for them to be shut down.

        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          It was the equivalent of casino owners getting to shoot craps in their own joint using loaded dice.

          Sort of like Goldman Sachs and mortgage backed securities.

          • Sort of like Goldman Sachs and mortgage backed securities.

            That's right. Unfortunately, the last New York Attorney General who went after Wall Street got run out of office for having sex.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        What percentage of lottery players wins most of the lottery money?

      • He's saying that it is illegal gambling, but he's also claiming that it is a problem because the top 1% of players win the lion's share of the money.

        Those are two separate problems. He's claiming it is illegal gambling. He's also claiming that the advertising is deceptive, because most of the money is won by the top 1%. And the advertisements imply that anyone with reasonable football knowledge can monetize that by taking advantage of suckers.

        Well, that [distribution]'d be the case if there was a great

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Is it still gambling if the game is riggged? That could also explain how 1% win.
    • The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

      --Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

    • How is it that Wall Street gets to operate? If we can't call it gambling, it's because it's rigged.

      I can't believe that the parent post is marked as Insightful. Wall Street is a type of gambling which can be seen as gaming -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] .

      "Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, chance and prize." Being said that, Wall Street is a type of gambling; however, it is more on gaming -- "a 'gaming' company offers (legal) 'gambling' activities to the public." What make it legal is that there are rules and regulations being imposed to their betting system in atte

    • Because stocks are not gambling, in general. (Some "investing" _CAN_ be gambling, e.g. buying a stock without doing ANY research).

      Apparently you are not a skilled investor. Skilled == invest for the LONG haul, and you will very very very likely make more money than you can otherwise.

  • There is skill in makeing the bets based on the stats and it is gambling under the law.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @12:31AM (#50906623) Homepage Journal

      horse racing is regulated and defined as gambling in pretty much any country that regulates gambling though.

      or put in other way, if betting on sports straight up is gambling then fantasy sports betting is gambling too. exactly same amount of 'skill'.

      • by pcause ( 209643 )

        That is the key example. In horse race betting:

        - bettors look at the stats of the horse in previous races and against various competitors. Just like looking at stats for a QB, running back or wide receiver.
        - bettors look at the jockey and their results with different types of horses. similar to checking out the coach or how team mates impact results in football.
        - bettors look at the length of race and track conditions and how well a horse did in similar conditions. In football we look at weather, dome o

    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      Good point, but with normal race and sports betting, they dictate the odds. The sports bookies have got this down to enough of a science so that the odds are almost always in their favor. i.e. no matter how much of an expert you are, it's impossible to win consistently betting on sports or horse racing because you have to take the odds they offer. Just like Vegas, the longer and more often you play, the more the probability favors the house.
      e.g. you can actually place a bet on the opening coin toss in t

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Skill is betting on a game of darts that you are playing in. Betting on darts when you are watching two other people play isn't based on your skill. So it's not a bet of skill, even if those doing it have skill. Analyzing statistics isn't a "skill" because it's unrelated to the outcome of the contest. The better you are at statistics won't affect the outcome of the contest, so it's not a "skill" in the gambling sense.
      • Analyzing statistics isn't a "skill" because it's unrelated to the outcome of the contest.

        It's unrelated to the outcome, but can help _predict_ the outcome.

        Am I going to bet on you, or Michael Jordan, in a basketball game?

        I'm going to bet on Jordan.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          So it'd be "skill" to tell the difference between me and Michael Jordan.

          I think you hit on the reason so many Slashdotters can't figure out law. It's a best effort system. It doesn't have to be logical, consistent, or even reasonable. It's interpreted under rules that aren't disclosed. Demanding a word be used exactly the same in two places (even in the same sentence) is an improper requirement for law.

          Seems every time I try to explain law here, people argue with reality, and focus on me because I'm p
          • There was this one guy who took the money he owned the mob and bet it on the Washington Generals.

          • So it'd be "skill" to tell the difference between me and Michael Jordan.

            Yes, especially if you are in reality comparing players that are much closer to each other in ability.

            So you think the guys in "Moneyball" did NOTHING clever or skillful at all?

            Even though just plopping money in a S&P500 tracking fund will likely be better in the long run, people can and do do research to determine which stocks are better at a particular time, for example.. and that takes skill.

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

              So you think the guys in "Moneyball" did NOTHING clever or skillful at all?

              You are using the word "skill" in a manner different than the laws on gambling use it.

  • If it's gambling, then explain: "the top 1 percent of DraftKings winners receive the vast majority of the winnings."
    Wouldn't there be a more even distribution of winners?
    It could be that there's some combination of skill and chance like blackjack. But then it's gambling.
    I'm a libertarian and I'm OK with being treated like an adult, so I would favor legalization.

    Don't' get me wrong, I'm sick of seeing their commercials constantly and the participation of major league sports doesn't seem kosher.
    and the elect

    • If it's gambling, then explain: "the top 1 percent of DraftKings winners receive the vast majority of the winnings." Wouldn't there be a more even distribution of winners?

      It's pretty easy to make a gambling game that only rewards 1% of the players. So this fact alone doesn't preclude this from being gambling

      If the top 1% of players are consistently winning, that's a different story. But this is different than the scenario where winning the jackpot once is what puts you in the top 1% of players.

      Why gambling should be considered bad, but games of skill good? Who the fuck knows.

      If we are worried about the losers being "cheated", then I would thinking gambling would be better

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

        Why gambling should be considered bad, but games of skill good? Who the fuck knows.

        The idea was that games of skill that you are participating in would be allowed. This allows two soccer teams to bet a pizza party (for under 21) or round of beers (over 21) on the outcome. Or bet your friend you are faster. These exceptions were written in when gambling was first regulated, where the detractors of the laws indicated that every school yard boy would become a felon if they outlawed all gambling.

        • Why is it worse to bet a pizza on a game of chance than a game of skill?
          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            Why must one be worse than the other if one is legal and the other isn't?
            • You can make playing soccer illegal if you want. Why must soccer remain legal?
              • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
                Because there's no compelling reason to make it illegal.
                • What is the compelling reason to make betting on games of chance illegal that doesn't also apply to games of skill?
                  • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
                    I don't know, and I don't care. Your non sequitur would have been interesting to bring up when the laws were passed, but are irrelevant to this discussion about reality, not what "should be". Go ride off into the sunset on your unicorn. Some of us still live in the real world.
                    • All I said was "Why gambling should be considered bad, but games of skill good? Who the fuck knows."

                      You were the one who tried to offer a rationale for the existing laws. I didn't ask for your opinion, and it's not my fault that it's incoherent.

                    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
                      Who the fuck knows? I do. I told you. You refused to listen and insist that you win an argument. Fine, you win. You are too dumb to learn anything, so you win every argument. Because nobody could ever inform your closed mind.
                    • You clearly don't know shit. The fact that *you* can't inform me of anything is not the same as "nobody can inform me". There is an answer. *Somebody* (i.e. like maybe the people who authored or pushed the law) clearly thought that gambling on games of chance was worse than gambling on games of skill, or at least offered a disingenuous rationale even if they didn't believe it. You just don't know why they thought that, and decided to pretend to know the answer to question that you didn't.

                      What exactly am

    • Wouldn't there be a more even distribution of winners?

      Not necessarily. See the NY State Lottery if you need examples.

    • Wouldn't there be a more even distribution of winners?

      There are several hundred thousand players. There are a couple of events each day. Each event has one big winner who walks off with the lion's share. I'd say that 1-2% is the back of the envelope number for pure luck.

      Now, it is as you say a combination of luck and skill.

      I'm a libertarian and I'm OK with being treated like an adult, so I would favor legalization.

      Yeah, but the guy who did this is a prosecutor enforcing ther laws as written. Not a legis

  • Lots of gambling involves some skill. There's skill in playing poker. Sure, it involves some luck of the draw, but it also involves playing the odds and manipulating opponents. Lots of games have some skill, but they're still generally banned as illegal gambling when money is involved.

    Fantasy sports are still legal, just not these sites. I can see that playing over the course of a full season is very much a game of skill. Drafting well for the season, making trades, and dropping and adding players all invol

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @12:36AM (#50906643)

    Protecting us from the scourge of fantasy sports. Gambling exploits people, so only government gambling that supports government payrolls should be allowed.

  • I've wondered how this wasn't gambling for some quite time. They say it's skill but is it really? Is it lack of skill or chance when the RB in your lineup tears his ACL on a play in the 1st quarter? Is it chance or lack of skill that the QB you chose had to leave the game with a concussion? Anyone who has ever played fantasy sports knows that no matter how much you try, you will still lose to some schmuck who knows nothing about the game and just randomly drafts a team.
    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      "Is it lack of skill or chance when the RB in your lineup tears his ACL on a play in the 1st quarter? Is it chance or lack of skill that the QB you chose had to leave the game with a concussion?"

      I see your point. There's definitely an element of chance involved. Still, operating as the coach or GM of a team is a skilled position and they face the same sort of risks when making their personnel decisions.

      I don't fully understand how fantasy sports work, but I'm skeptical of your claim that a team chosen by

    • I've wondered how this wasn't gambling for some quite time

      In 2006 Congress passed a law defining what was gambling. They explicitly cut fantasy sports out as not gambling. I think primarily because they were at the time played out over a whole season, and for comparatively very little money. The amounts played for given the amount of time you got to play made it more akin to a game than gambling.

  • "It is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multibillion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country," says NY attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, "Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York, and not on my watch."

    That statement might have some credibility if the State of New York didn't run their own gambling operation [ny.gov].

    F'ing hypocrites...

    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      Exactly. The government throws so-called "mafia" figures in jail for running numbers games, then they move in and take over the businesses for their own personal gain. Lotteries are nothing other than the traditional "numbers rackets" (with far worse odds!)

  • It is gambling to bet on a team, but betting on a player isn't? I don't buy it.
  • There are a ton of new auction sites (Quibids, Swoopo, etc) where you actually pay for each *bid* you make, and in return you get a chance at buying the product for insanely small prices -- so for example they do penny auctions where it price for a $1,000 TV starts at $0.01 and each bid increment is a penny. The bids cost $0.60 so by the time the price reaches $100.00, the company has already made $6,000 on that TV. I'm trying to understand how fantasy sports could be considered worse than these auction s
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Pay to lose auctions have been made systematically illegal as the auctions they were used in became common. You can buy a house or a car by auction. But it's illegal to charge per bid for a house auction. A bidder's registration can be charged, a trivial fee, but not per bid. Those consumer protection laws just need to be extended to all auctions.
  • I really don't see a difference between this and gambling at a horse track. Yes it gambling, but yes, there is a measure of skill that can help skew the results. Horse race gamblers pour over info about the horses and jockeys, the same as fantasy players pour over information about the football players. The issue here is NY is pissed they they are not getting their cut of it. The whole point of "regulating" gambling is that the States can set the percentages they get from the gambling going on.
  • Not without giving us our cut you don't.
  • Of course it is gambling, and so should be subject to gambling regulation. If these regulations are unfair, argue against those. But fantasy sports definitely qualifies...

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