Daily fantasy sites mount Uber-like protests against New York’s attorney general

Fantasy swag.
Fantasy swag.
Image: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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This post has been updated.

FanDuel and DraftKings are not taking Eric Schneiderman’s campaign against daily fantasy sites quietly, mounting a corporate-sponsored protest outside the New York attorney general’s office today (Nov. 13) with about 300 fans chanting signs and waving placards.

Earlier this week, Schneiderman ordered the two sites to stop taking bets from New York residents, saying their activities—which involve paying for the chance to win cash prizes by selecting a daily sports lineup—constituted illegal gambling.

Fantasy Sports for All, a group of daily fantasy companies including FanDuel and Draft Kings, organized the event with an event on Eventbrite, which was also promoted on FanDuel’s Facebook page. The protesters wielding professionally printed signs that read “Schneiderman should focus on real problems,” “If only politics were skill based,” and “Let’s get real. It’s just fantasy.”

Corporate-sponsored protests have become a regular tactic of tech companies like Airbnb and Uber that are trying to disrupt established industries and regulations. Earlier this year, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio backed down from a plan to restrict Uber drivers after the company organized widespread street and online protests.

Draft Kings and FanDuel have both sued Schneiderman in an attempt to overturn his cease and desist order. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins tweeted his support of the New York protest shortly after it took place:

Attorney General Schneiderman’s office released the following statement today in response to the protest:

“The Attorney General’s job is to enforce New York State law, and the law here is clear. Online sports gambling sites are illegal in New York. DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal sports betting websites under New York law, causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling. As a result, our office issued a cease and desist letter to stop them from violating state law by accepting bets from people in New York. Because both companies have refused to follow the law in our state, we will take action to enforce state law.”