August 11, 2016
Frank Angst, Blood-Horse
With a line in the daily fantasy sports legislation passed last week in New York specifically prohibiting horse racing handicapping tournament sites, two of the larger sites that run those types of contests will not allow customers in the state to play in cash tournaments.
HorseTourneys.com has changed its policies following new legislation signed into law by the governor Aug. 3. Daily Racing Form reports DerbyWars.com has taken similar action. Representatives from DerbyWars.com were not available for comment Aug. 11. The law allows regulated daily fantasy sports action but prohibits such games involving high school or college athletes and horse racing.
HorseTourneys.com posted a message from its president McKay Smith regarding the policy change.
“Last week, the governor of New York signed into law new legislation covering daily fantasy sports in the state. As part of the provisions, the new legislation prohibits fantasy-style games on horse racing,” Smith said. “While the exact legal status of horse racing tournaments is still open to question, after conferring with our legal counsel, we have made the determination that we must restrict play from New York residents at this time.”
New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has said he wanted the horse racing prohibition in the legislation because the sites do not directly pay racetracks or horsemen for use of the racing product.
“Sites like DerbyWars.com offer fantasy racing and the horsemen have an issue with those sites, because they’re taking their product and making money on it,” Pretlow said last week. “Nothing goes back to the owners, breeders, jockeys, tracks—nobody. So I thought, ‘Let’s knock them out.'”
Smith’s message noted that New York players will be able to submit a one-time request to withdraw funds and then for the forseeable future will no longer be able to withdraw funds from accounts. New York players will not be allowed to win real money, including travel reimbursements that may be part of qualifying packages to play in other tournaments.
Smith did note that New York players would be allowed to continue to play in any events toward on-track or on-site qualifiers supported by the industry, like the NTRA/Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship.
“We regret that changes in New York law have affected your participation at HorseTourneys,” Smith said in the message on the site. “Please know that we are actively working on a long-term solution to allow full online tournament playing privileges and will notify you as soon as any change to our policy in New York has been made.”