By Liana B. Baker
(Reuters) - Fans of daily fantasy sports protested what could be the end of the online games in New York after the state's attorney general decided earlier this week that they constituted illegal gambling.
Around a hundred protesters - a significant number of whom work for daily fantasy sports sites - gathered outside of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office Friday morning.
Market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings have continued to take money from New Yorkers despite receiving cease and desist letters from Schneiderman.
Both companies filed lawsuits on Friday asking the New York State Supreme Court to overturn the order that they shut down in the state.
The decision could be a crippling blow for the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar industry, as New York has more daily fantasy sports players than any other state, according to Eilers Research.
Jason Green, 35, was in town from Nashville for a daily fantasy sports conference that is being held this weekend. He came to the protest after reading the cease and desist letters from the attorney general's office to the companies.
"Regulation is one thing but this isn't regulation, just one guy making a decision," he said. "There's a lot of misinformation out there and hopefully we've shown that people should be allowed to keep playing."
Green works at a video game company and enters up to twenty hockey lineups per night, spending a few hundred dollars a week on the games.
Modern fantasy sports started in 1980 and have mushroomed online with participants typically creating teams that span an entire season, in major sports including baseball, basketball and hockey.
Daily fantasy sports, a turbocharged version of the season-long game, developed over the past ten years. In the new games, players draft teams in games played in just one evening or over the course of a weekend.
The companies may have painted big targets on their backs through aggressive advertising at the start of NFL season that promised large winnings to participants. FanDuel has said it planned to pay out $2 billion in cash prizes this year.
"They got very big, very fast," Schneiderman said on Thursday at an event sponsored by Politico in New York, saying New York won't be the first or last state to make daily fantasy sports illegal. "New York state regulators and regulators in a lot of other states weren't paying attention."