A daily fantasy sports company is using a novel legal defense in an effort to squirm out of a sponsorship deal with the Minnesota Wild hockey team. Their lawyers told a federal judge that their contract with the team was null and void because daily fantasy sports are illegal in Minnesota and that a lawsuit from the team should be thrown out of court.

US District Court Judge Wilhelmina Wright, who presided over the bizarre case, wasn’t exactly buying the argument from Emil Interactive Games, but she wasn’t quite willing to cast judgement on the legality of DFS either.

The case revolves around a sponsorship deal between Emil Interactive’s DraftOps brand and the Minnesota NHL franchise that was supposed to launch in September 2015. Under the terms of the deal, Emil Interactive was to pay $1.5 million to the team for rights to use its logo in advertising.

Everything was running smoothly until the State of Nevada, where Emil Interactive was based at the time, decided that daily fantasy sports should be regulated as gambling. That caused the company to suspend its operations, including the Minnesota Wild deal, while it figured out its next move.

Not surprisingly, the Wild still wanted their money and that’s when Emil Interactive told Judge Wright that the contract was, “null and void,” because daily fantasy sports were illegal in the first place.

Judge Wright wasn’t exactly buying this novel argument, but she didn’t exactly reject it either. In her ruling, Judge Wright said that this particular case revolved around, “advertising, not gambling.” She went on to say that, “…(the) theory regarding the legal status of DFS in Minnesota is at least colorable.”

In short, she wasn’t willing to make the final call on whether daily fantasy sports are gambling or not, but she still wants the show to go on in her court room. So far theres no word on when the case will actually go to court.


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