FSTA chairman calls New York “way out of bounds” over DFS stance

By David Cook
Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) chairman Peter Schoenke has accused the state of New York of holding a misguided view of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and thinks opponents of the game do not understand it.

A letter was sent to DFS operators FanDuel and DraftKings by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office ordering them to remove real-money services from the state after ruling them to be a game of chance under state law.

We’ve seen a negative reaction, and I think a misguided one, in New York, where they’re trying to ban it, making statements like the companies are trying to fleece consumers, which I just think is way out of boundsPeter Schoenke
The issue has been heard by the New York Supreme Court, which is yet to make a ruling, and follows Nevada’s announcement in October that DFS operators must possess a licence to operate a sports pool in order to operate real-money services in the state.

Schoenke told Gambling Insider: “The frustrating thing is that there is a lot of confusion and there is a misconception about what fantasy sports are. I think that’s been a big problem with a lot of the Attorney Generals and elected officials. They’re not really familiar with fantasy sports or daily fantasy sports.

“We’ve seen a negative reaction, and I think a misguided one, in New York, where they’re trying to ban it, making statements like the companies are trying to fleece consumers, which I just think is way out of bounds. Companies like ESPN and leagues like the MLB and NBA wouldn’t be involved in daily fantasy sports if that was the case.

“In my personal opinion, I think it’s that some people just don’t really understand how daily fantasy sports isn’t really any different from what’s been around for the last 30 years. Everybody was fine with it as a skill game for the last 30 years, but all of a sudden in the last couple of years, for whatever reason, things have changed.”

The FSTA revealed in October it would be forming the Fantasy Sports Control Agency (FSCA) to self-regulate the industry.

Scrutiny was placed on the DFS industry following the leaking of data relating to a Millionaire Maker NFL contest by DraftKings written content manager Ethan Haskell that was hosted in October, the same person who reportedly won $350,000 playing with FanDuel in the same week that the data was leaked.

Matthew Boccio, a product operations employee at FanDuel, is ranked inside the top 50 of the DFS player rankings by RotoGrinders, using the username PetrGibbons.

When asked by Gambling Insider about how the FSCA will be able to monitor the access that employees of fantasy sports operators will have to player/team data and how this can be used, Schoenke said there would be an “important element of that” and that the FSCA will soon make an announcement about the details.

Schoenke also said he is hopeful that the FSCA will launch in “weeks, rather than months or years”.

Schoenke spoke to contribute to a wider article about recent developments in the DFS market, which will appear in the 2016 Gambling Insider Sports-Betting Focus. You can sign up to read the magazine here .
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