This week, New York regulators made another stand against fantasy sports contests that resemble regulated sports wagering. On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, the New York State Gaming Commission voted in favour of new directions for paid fantasy sports that target pick ‘em contests similar to prop betting. The state does not see the product as a game of skill.
Over the last couple of years, these pick ‘em contests have become quite popular across the country, and even in states where there are no legal sports betting sites. However, gambling regulators are far from happy with it and have now begun on cracking down such forms of daily fantasy sports. With the Empire State being the latest to its efforts.
Contest Shouldn’t Be Based on Proposition Wagering
NYSGC’s new protocols state that contests should not be based on proposition betting or contests that imply mimicking proposition wagering. Its statement read that contests in which a participant must choose, directly or indirectly, whether an individual athlete or a single team will exceed an identified statistical achievement, are banned.
But in response, pick ‘em proponents argue that they operate legally and that they are being targeted by the big players in the industry. Smaller operators are pushing back against the crackdown, even as state lawmakers make them feel unwelcome. The Coalition for Fantasy Sports spoke against the rule, saying pick ‘ems are not gambling since they are skill games.
CFS claimed that ‘a variety of contest styles encourages innovation’ arguing that the proposed regulations would serve to cement the IFS market monopoly by DraftKings and FanDuel. Still, the regulator approved the policy. There are also rules requiring DFS operators to get their contest types green-lit by regulators and to identify any highly experienced players who join a contest by assigning them a symbol.
Executive Director Robert Williams told commissioners that the regulator continues to receive some comments and concerns related to interactive fantasy sports well outside the public comment period. That is why the commission will review the new comments and determine whether any of them are appropriate, then in the future, it will amend further rules.
Ontario Also Plagued by DFS Issues
Ontario recently kicked off its online gaming sector for private operators, offering a plethora of traditional sports wagers. However, this does not apply to fantasy options, which remain limited as the NFL season kicked off. Brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Underdog will not offer such verticals, as the province considers DFS as pay-to-play and requires operators to pay tax.
These conditions left no choice operators but to suspend fantasy offerings in the province, leaving it with smaller pool sizes. That is why in March 2022, FanDuel announced that it suspended its DFS product in the product. The company is willing to reconsider if regulations are loosened to allow larger contests in the province.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “New York Cracking Down on Sports Betting-Like Fantasy Contests” Covers, October 3, 2023