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Fantasy Sports Contests Constitute Illegal Gambling, New York Appeals Court Rules

 

  • A New York appeals court struck down a 2016 law amending the state’s Racing, Pari-Mutuel, Wagering and Breeding Law to legalize interactive fantasy sports (“IFS”) contests.
  • In the decision in White v. Cuomo, No. 528026, the court held that the 2016 law violates the state constitution’s ban on gambling because, even though IFS contests require a degree of skill, contestants’ skills cannot eliminate or overcome the significant factor of chance in winning these contests.
  • The court also held that the 2016 law’s revision to the penal code definition of “gambling” to exclude IFS contests must be struck, even though it is not unconstitutional, because it cannot be severed from the portion of the law found unconstitutional.