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Gov. Baker Voices Support For DraftKings Ahead Of NYC Rally

DraftKings employees works at their desks at the company's Boston offices.  (Stephan Savoia/AP/File)
DraftKings employees works at their desks at the company's Boston offices. (Stephan Savoia/AP/File)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Amid a brewing legal fight between the state of New York and DraftKings, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports company has received a show of support from the governor of Massachusetts.

"I don’t think it’s gambling," Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday in his strongest statement on the industry to date. Baker said he played a free version of fantasy sports and that he doesn't think it's a game of chance.

"I don’t think it’s gambling," he reiterated. "It’s a game of skill."

That puts the governor at odds with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who argues that daily fantasy sports contests have a significant amount of chance, making them akin to gambling.

On Tuesday, Schneiderman ordered DraftKings and its chief competitor FanDuel to stop accepting entry fees from New York residents. Schneiderman said the two companies have been "fleecing" customers.

But DraftKings and FanDuel disagree, and they’re fighting the order. The two industry rivals are teaming up to try to show how much support they have by encouraging their New York customers to attend a rally in front Attorney General Schneiderman's New York City office Friday morning.

The rally was organized by the newly-created advocacy group called Fantasy Sports For All. It's a collaboration of DraftKings, FanDuel and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

DraftKings has been promoting the event on social media.

While Gov. Baker's statement seems to contradict Schneiderman's assessment, Massachusetts and New York have differing legal tests to determine what is a game of skill and what is a game of chance — and, therefore, what constitutes gambling.

In Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey is reviewing the industry, but has said she does not want to shutter the Boston company.

Related:

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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