The Mashup Blog — New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez, supporting an assertion by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that daily fantasy sports are gambling, granted a preliminary injunction to Schneiderman that will stop DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state.
Lawyers for the fantasy sites had argued that participants submitted entry fees rather than wagers, but Mendez did not agree.
“New York State penal law does not refer to ‘wagering’ or ‘betting,’ rather it states that a person, ‘risks something of value,’ ” Mendez wrote in his decision. “The payment of an ‘entry fee’ as high as $10,600 on one or more contests daily could certainly be deemed risking ‘something of value.’ ”
I’ll start by going full disclosure, because I’m not impartial on this topic. DraftKings came to Entercom right after I launched Thornography this time last year with an offer to sponsor it. And the company has advertised heavily on Dale & Holley. I appreciate the support. So you can take what I have to say on the subject however you like, but you can’t accuse me of having an agenda that is hidden.
That said, I’m being perfectly honest when I say this ruling is pure, unprocessed horsecrap. With or without my business arrangement with a daily fantasy site, I’m first and foremost a free-market libertarian, with a small ‘l.’ I’m all about protecting the ultimate minority — the individual — against government intrusion. Which is exactly what this is.
When I go on Draft King to set a fantasy lineup for the weekend, tell me who the aggrieved party is? Which other party am I harming? They say your right to swing your arm ends where someone else’s nose begins. Well whose nose is getting pummeled if I lose three bucks? Or if I win a million?
I’ll answer the question myself. It’s the government. Money is changing hands, people are enjoying themselves with a funtivity that is not only harmless but completely voluntary. Those who don’t care to play are not impacted in any way, shape or form by those of us who do. But in the state of New York that can’t be tolerated, especially because the government isn’t getting its cut.
Meanwhile, New York is doing exactly what Massachusetts does, which is run lotteries that are the biggest gambling scams currently available anywhere. Gambling that does impact the quality of life even of those of us who don’t play. Go into any public establishment that sells scratch tickets or had Keno, and you have to dodge the sullen, impoverished players like they’re the zombie horde in “The Walking Dead.” Lotteries are a tax on stupidity, and an example of the government taking advantage of the poor. If any casino ever offered the kinds of low payouts lotteries do, the state would padlock its doors and lead management away in cuffs.
Daily fantasy has none of that corruption. But these companies have been operating on a direct provider-to-customer basis with no interference from crooked politicians, and that won’t stand until the government starts getting its protection money. So congratulations, citizens of the Empire State. You’ve been saved from the scourge of something millions of you enjoyed doing. And all it cost you is another huge chunk of what is left of your freedom.
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