Amaya will await 'clear stance' on legality of DFS

Amaya will await 'clear stance' on legality of DFS

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Totally Gaming
StarsDraft has ceased operations in Florida and Nevada

PokerStars owner Amaya is playing it safe in the US after suspending its daily fantasy sports (DFS) operations in both Nevada and Florida.

Amaya’s StarsDraft has joined its rivals in withdrawing from Nevada following last week’s announcement that the Gaming Control Board (NGCB) considers DFS to be gambling, and that operators require a licence.

StarsDraft is the first of the major operators to pull out of Florida, where a Grand Jury has reportedly been convened by the US Attorney’s office in Tampa to consider whether as-yet-unnamed DFS firms are in violation of state law and the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA).

PokerStars was recently awarded an online gaming licence in New Jersey after more than two years of negotiations relating to the ‘bad actor’ status that it had acquired due to its continuing to operate in the US after the passing of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

A statement by Amaya – which bought PokerStars’ parent company for $4.9bn (€4.31bn) in 2014 - said the company had been cautious in its recent launch and would await a “clear stance” on DFS in other states before any expansion. 

“Prior to the launch of StarsDraft and based on a thorough review of the regulatory environment at the time, Amaya decided not to launch StarsDraft in jurisdictions where many of our competitors continue to operate today, including Michigan,” the statement read.

“We recently withdrew from Florida and Nevada, where last week the respected NGCB determined that DFS operators in that state are required to obtain a gaming licence. Amaya supports the decision by the NGCB, and believes that it is prudent to limit the StarsDraft offering until such time as more states adopt a clear stance on daily fantasy sports.

“We will actively monitor developments and work with all states interested in implementing clear guidelines for the operation of daily fantasy sports in their jurisdiction.”

The company said that the withdrawal “is not anticipated to have a negative financial impact” and added that players in all jurisdictions will continue to have access to their funds at any time

Amaya entered the DFS sector in September when it acquired Victiv and re-launched it as StarsDraft. At the time, Amaya’s Eric Hollreiser told TotallyGaming.com: “We see an opportunity to take a long-term view in order to build a sustainable mainstream consumer DFS market.”

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