ALBANY — Flanked by Vinny Testaverde and Jim Kelly, key state legislators predicted Tuesday New York would legalized daily fantasy sports, even if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has some objections.
“This will happen,” said Assemb. James Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon), sponsor of the bill in the Assembly.
His counterpart, Sen. John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope) said there were “technical” hang-ups on how to legally define the games and what fees to charge companies to operate in New York. But otherwise, he said he expected the legislature to vote on the issue Thursday.
Former NFL stars Testaverde and Kelly, making a paid appearance for the fantasy sports industry, vouched for fantasy sports as a “game of skill” (not a game of chance, which would make it illegal gambling). They said it brought together families and friends and was good for the restaurant and tavern business, especially during football season.
Kelly said it was a good escape from day-to-day worries.
“I think we need to have more fun instead of worrying about all the things going on,” the former Buffalo Bills star said.
Testaverde, who played for the Jets, said even his 84-year-old mother calls him for advice about picking players.
Industry officials didn’t immediately disclose how much the two quarterbacks were being paid for their appearance at the State Capitol, but said the information would be filed with the state ethics commission as required.
Last year, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued DraftKings and FanDuel, the two companies that control 95 percent of the fantasy sports market, saying they clearly were participating in illegal gambling. Schneiderman is seeking to shut them down. The attorney general and the companies have ceased legal proceedings while the legislature decides how to handle the issue.
The 2016 legislative session is slated to end Thursday, although some lawmakers are predicting they will still through Friday.