Massachusetts Gaming Commission Offers to Regulate World of Fantasy Sports

The commission released a paper laying out a number of regulatory options, but focuses on creating a specific commission to oversee Internet gaming in the state.

by Bob McGovern, Boston Herald / January 12, 2016

(TNS) -- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission — already charged with regulating the brick-and-mortar casino industry — is ready to oversee the ultra-popular, controversial world of daily fantasy sports, according to a message from its chairman.

“Our agency stands ready to accept that role, and stands equally ready to work with another or a new agency that the Legislature may consider appropriate,” commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said in a blog post.

The commission released its highly anticipated white paper on Jan. 11 — a document meant to guide the state’s Legislature as it considers what to do with the daily fantasy sports industry. The document lays out a number of regulatory options but focuses on creating a specific commission to oversee Internet gaming.

“One approach for the Legislature to consider is to recognize that because Internet gaming activity is unique, quickly deployed and highly malleable, regulation ought to be vested in a single, nimble Internet gaming regulatory body,” the documents states. “This approach would require new legislation, but the regulatory body could be one that currently exists or one that the Legislature creates.”

The commission’s report found that a new regulatory agency could “provide the necessary flexibility to address both evolving technology and evolving issues given the contemplative pace of legislative change.”

Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel are far and away the market leaders in the daily fantasy sports sphere, and both are dealing with legal headaches as other states grapple with how to handle their unique business models.

In November, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey proposed a series of regulations that would allow the companies to continue operating in the Bay State.

Among those are banning the games to anyone under 21 and halting advertising at schools or college campuses.

The public will weigh in on Healey’s proposed regulations at a hearing today.

Crosby wrote that the Legislature needs to resolve the “legal uncertainty” surrounding daily fantasy sports, or else players and companies “will find their activities risky.”

The paper came hours after a Manhattan appeals court ruled that daily fantasy sports sites can operate in New York state pending a legal challenge by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has said the companies allow illegal gambling.

©2016 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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