FanDuel ordered to stop trading in New York state

Lesley and Nigel Eccles of Fanduel

Lesley and Nigel Eccles of Fanduel

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ONE OF Scotland’s most lauded technology start-ups has been ordered to stop trading in its biggest market in the United States.

Fantasy sports operator FanDuel, which has a major presence in Edinburgh, has been told to stop accepting bets in the state of New York after investigators concluded that its daily competitions amount to gambling, rather than a game of skill. FanDuel’s biggest rival in the US, DraftKings, has also been ordered to “cease and desist”.

The move by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is seen as a blow for both firms, which insist fantasy sport is a game of skill. It follows the launch of an investigation in October by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, into whether fantasy sports sites violate laws against online gambling.

New York is not the first place to ban daily fantasy sports, but market research suggests it has more players than any other state in the US. Despite its Scottish origins, FanDuel’s business is built on North America, where it runs competitions based on football, baseball, basketball and hockey leagues.

A statement from FanDuel, led by co-founder and chief executive Nigel Eccles, accused Schneiderman of looking to “get himself some press coverage”.

“We have operated openly and lawfully in New York for several years,” the statement said. “The only thing that changed today is the attorney general’s mind.”

FanDuel and DraftKings are to pursue “all legal options”.