Relationships between daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings and the Texas Attorney General’s Office appear to be tense following the former’s filing of a court action in Dallas last month requesting a declaratory judgement against state AG Ken Paxton’s opinion that DFS in Texas is gambling and therefore illegal.
Paxton followed his opinion with a cease and desist order on DraftKings and Fanduel (see previous reports).
On Monday Paxton responded to the DraftKings filing by asking that the action be moved to another venue or be dismissed in its entirety
“This lawsuit reflects a corporation’s attempt to protect its preferred business model: profiting from paid online daily fantasy sports in Texas,” Paxton said in a motion contending the fantasy sports giant filed its case in the wrong kind of court in the wrong Texas county.
The AG wants the case moved to Travis County, the seat of state government, arguing that this type of lawsuit against him must be filed there, and that the actions that prompted the case took place in Travis County.
In addition, Paxton said, the lawsuit should be filed in a criminal court because civil courts “lack jurisdiction to construe criminal statutes.”
The Dallas court specialises in civil matters.
In the event that the case stays in the Dallas court, and it decides it has jurisdiction, the case should be dismissed anyway, Paxton contends.
He claims that DraftKings has not presented a valid waiver of the attorney general’s sovereign immunity protection against lawsuits, and that it raises constitutional claims that “are both invalid and unripe.”
Attorney general opinions, while substantive, are non-binding interpretations of the law. Such opinions generally are regarded by courts as persuasive and entitled to careful consideration, but the judiciary retains the authority to make binding determinations on the law.