Yahoo exit New York daily fantasy market, intro fish-friendly ‘Fair Play’ changes

yahoo-fantasy-new-york-marketA day after the two leading daily fantasy sports operators exited the New York market, third-ranked site Yahoo has pulled its own DFS offering from the state.

Monday saw DraftKings and FanDuel agree to stop offering paid DFS contests to New York players until state pols approve the necessary legislation or the appellate courts give DFS a legal all-clear. Yahoo had stayed shtum on its New York intentions but a good night’s sleep has apparently cleared their minds.

On Tuesday, Yahoo issued a statement saying it “believes its contests are lawful” but was nonetheless suspending paid contests in New York as of Wednesday (23) “pending further review.” Yahoo stressed that its decision had no bearing on users in other states.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has aggressively challenged DFS companies’ assertions that they aren’t illegal gambling operators, said he was glad “these companies have agreed to follow” his interpretation of New York law.

Yahoo had so far avoided being bundled into the criminal complaints Schneiderman had filed against DraftKings and FanDuel but he had served Yahoo with a subpoena last November as an apparent legal shot across the bow.

Yahoo’s New York exit overshadowed its announcement of “Fair Play” policy changes intended to make its DFS contests “more transparent.” The changes include capping the number of multiple entries in any contest at a maximum of 10, so long as that number doesn’t exceed 1% of the total entries in that contest.

Yahoo is also banning the use of scripting tools for uploading and editing contest entries, and the site will tag “veteran” players with a badge, similar to the consumer protection recommendation made by Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey last November.

Yahoo says it will define ‘veteran’ players as those who have (a) entered over 1k contests in a year, (b) entered over 250 contests and won a prize in over 65% of said contests, or (c) won a single prize of $1k or more in three or more contests in a single year.

To compensate for this high-roller profiling, veterans will have access to a special invite-only contest which won’t cost anything to enter, although given the bum-hunting tendencies of most DFS ‘veterans,’ the opportunity to play exclusively against other sharks may have limited appeal.