Will Online Gambling Face Problems in New York?

by Jim Hall

New YorkA daily fantasy sports law passed in New York is currently facing a lawsuit which may affect online gambling in the state.

The state of New York is one that has been considering legislation for online casino and poker gaming. The state has also been involved in the daily fantasy sports discussion, with legislation actually passed to support DFS contests. A lawsuit was recently filed against the DFS bill which could have direct implications on any efforts to legalize online gaming in the future for the state.

Taking a Look at the Lawsuit

A group of citizens in the state of New York actually filed the lawsuit against the law that authorized as well as legalized and regulated DFS gaming. The lawsuit calls the law unconstitutional as it changes the gambling code to exclude DFS from the definition of gambling in the state. This was done instead of an actual amendment to the constitution which is what the lawsuit says was done illegally.

The plaintiffs in the case are calling DFS a gambling game of chance instead of one that involves skill. Those behind the lawsuit include the group Stop Predatory Gambling who feel that the law is illegal and want to see changes made. Such DFS operators as FanDuel and DraftKings disagree. A statement was released by both companies together on the matter which stated that the constitution of the state specifically gives the legislature of the state the power to define what is and is not gambling. The legislature has done so several times in the past as well as before DFS was even created. Even the Attorney General has stated he will enforce the new law.

How This Affects Online Casino Gaming?

Now you may be wondering how this will affect online casino gaming in the state. Well, the decision in the DFS case is up to the New York State Supreme Court. If the court decides to rule in favor of the plaintiffs and decide that the law is unconstitutional, then a real problem will exist for the online casino gaming efforts in the state. The same mechanism could be used in regards to online gambling games.

The Senate was able to pass a bill involving online poker earlier this year but the measure was not considered in the Assembly. This measure is much like the DFS law as it calls poker a game of skill rather than one of chance. The state has a law in place that prohibits pool selling, bookmaking or any other form of gambling unless the option is exempted specifically in the constitution. If both are considered games of chance then DFS and casino gaming would be out in the state.

If the State Supreme Court does not decide to dismiss the case, then a court battle could ensure that would most likely be lengthy. Any decision can then be appealed in a higher court which could mean even years before the issue is dealt with. This then provides uncertainty into the aspect of online casino gaming and poker gaming.

One could assume that such groups as Stop Predatory Gaming would also push their efforts towards casino and poker gaming as they have with DFS. The group only began with DFS due to the passage of the law allowing the activity in the state. Should New York move closer to passing legislation in regards to online gambling like casino games, legislators will have to be careful with the process as well as wording. The group could use similar tactics as they have with the DFS legislation to fight the potential for online gambling to become legalized and regulated in the state.