DraftKings just hired Sard Verbinnen & Co., and FanDuel brought Glover Park Group on board to join the fight against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. This follows Schneiderman issuing a cease-and-desist order to both companies this week, in an effort to stop the two businesses from taking wagers from New York State residents.
Glover Park and Sard were hired to battle Schneiderman, who demanded that the two companies hosting daily fantasy sports competitions stop taking bets from residents of his state, labeling these transactions as illegal gambling infractions, and not games of chance, according to New York state law. Both companies are committed to fighting Schneiderman’s court-order. FanDuel’s chief executive told media outlets that daily fantasy sports sites are games of skill, and not chance, and are therefore not dismissable as gambling. According to the executive, 600,000 New York residents are customers of his business.
Both fantasy sports websites encouraged its members via email to complain to the attorney general’s office. The two companies even held a rally outside of Schneiderman’s Manhattan office on Friday morning under the banner “Fantasy Sports for All.” The Fantasy Sports for All website collects solicits visitors for their full names, email addresses, and ZIP codes to add to a petition.
“Ask anyone who plays, and they’ll tell you the same thing: they do this because they love it. I personally oppose any measure that would move to take away that experience by restricting paid fantasy sports,” the text on the petition goes; “And to anyone looking to end this game, I say: let us play!”
The two websites’ business came under media attention last month, following a series of articles critiquing them. FanDuel and DraftKings both cite the integrity of their fantasy sports websites in response to New York Times articles insinuating that employees of one site could easily make serious profits by engaging with another site, in a practice known well as “insider trading.”
One such article accuses a DraftKings employee released crucial data before NFL games began at one p.m. EST, then won $350,000 playing on FanDuel. Put simply, one fantasy sports company’s employee could use information not publically released to his or her advantage over other paying customers on similar fantasy sports platforms.