Judge mulling fate of daily fantasy sports in New York promises decision “very soon”

daily-fantasy-sports-new-york-hearingThe judge considering the fate of daily fantasy sports operators in New York has promised to deliver his verdict “very soon.”

Wednesday saw New York Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez hear Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s representatives offer oral arguments supporting a ban on DFS operators conducting business in the state, while representatives from DraftKings and FanDuel offered counter-arguments for why they should be allowed to conduct business as usual.

Gaming attorney Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL), who has followed this issue closely, attended the hearing and much of what follows relies on the live tweeting of his furious but capable thumbs.

By and large, the oral arguments didn’t stray from the legal scripts both sides have already documented at length in court filings and media interviews. Mendez stayed quiet throughout most of the legal presentations, offering little indication of which way he was leaning.

However, during FanDuel’s argument regarding the degree of skill required to pick a winning DFS lineup, Mendez pushed back, saying picking a lineup might involve skill but all DFS players were ultimately dependent on the skill of the actual athletes on the field of play, so 10 points to Gryffindor, er, Schneiderman.

Mendez was reportedly furiously scribbling notes when it came time for DraftKings’ attorney David Boies’ presentation, but he didn’t speak again until Schneiderman’s team offered its rebuttal. Schneiderman’s reps committed what some viewed as a tactical error by acknowledging the legality of season-long fantasy contests, prompting Mendez to wonder what rationale led the AG to treat DFS differently.

Mendez must now decide whether to give Schneiderman the legal authority he needs to enforce the cease & desist order he served on the DFS companies earlier this month, or whether to allow the DFS operators to continue serving New York players. FanDuel has already cut off its New York players, while DraftKings has remained active in the state.

Some observers have suggested Mendez could issue his verdict within the next couple weeks. Whatever ruling emerges, speculation is rampant that it will only be a stopgap measure until a full trial can be heard to examine the matter in greater depth than allowed by Wednesday’s two-hour hearing.