Has New Jersey armed the first forfeiture warhead to be used against Fantasy Sports operators?

New Jersey Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

A recent appellate court opinion from New Jersey could serve as the basis for civil and criminal proceedings against fantasy sports operations. The case styled New Jersey v. Amboy National Bank, 2016 WL 4488162, was handed down on August 26, and involved the civil forfeiture of accumulated funds in a bank account on deposit for use in conjunction with sports “survivor” pools. While the rules of the actual contest were not discussed in the published opinion, a typical survivor pool proceeds as follows:

  • A player deposits funds at the beginning of a series of sports contests.
  • Each pool member chooses one team each week.
  • Picks typically are made “straight up”, not using a point spread system.
  • If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week.
  • An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season.
  • The goal is to be the last member standing at the end of the season.
  • Funds are distributed based on player standings at the end of the season.

The survivor pools in this case involved football, baseball, golf, and basketball. The State of New Jersey took the position that this activity Continue Reading

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