Massachusetts Governor Baker Signs Bill Formally Legalizing Fantasy Sports

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Charlie Baker Massachusetts DFS

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill that legalized paid-entry fantasy sports, becoming the eighth state to do so in 2016.

What Baker did for fantasy sports

Baker actually signed a comprehensive economic development bill, in which fantasy sports legalization was included.

That bill was passed by the legislature last week and sent to Baker’s desk. The fantasy sports language added to the package allows any fantasy sports operator to offer contests with cash prizes, legally, through July 31, 2018, as long as it is in “accordance with regulations promulgated by the attorney general.”

Attorney General Maura Healey put regulations governing fantasy sports into effect earlier this year.

There are no fees or taxes associated with operating in Massachusetts via the new law or the AG regulations, currently.

It’s more welcome news for the daily fantasy sports industry, which has notched a number of victories in state legislatures across the country.

Statement from DraftKings

The news is particularly welcomed by DraftKings, which is based in Boston.

Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, offered this statement on the news:

“Today is a special day for DraftKings. Boston has always been our home, and on behalf of more than 300 DraftKings employees, we want to thank Governor Charlie Baker and the Legislature for supporting our company in the city we love.

“The legislation that Gov. Baker signs into law today reaffirms that the legendary sports fans in Massachusetts can continue playing daily fantasy games. At the same time, this daily fantasy sports provision gives DraftKings the foundation to further grow our business right here in Boston.

“Since Matthew Kalish, Paul Liberman and I started our business in 2012, we have embraced the vibrant technology community in Massachusetts. The Bay State’s tech sector and our world-class sports teams have been pivotal inspirations as we have evolved as a sports-tech company. We are fortunate to be part of such a tightknit network of talented entrepreneurs and innovators.

“Of course, we would not be here without our millions of committed fans who enjoy the fun and excitement that our games provide.  We also want to particularly thank Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Ways and Means Chairs Brian Dempsey and Karen Spilka, Economic Development Chairs Eileen Donoghue and Joseph Wagner, Majority Leaders Ron Mariano and Harriette Chandler, and Senate sponsor Ben Downing.

“DraftKings is unabashedly proud of our Boston roots and we look forward to continuing as a hub for innovation and jobs in Massachusetts for years to come.”

The list of legalized states

Seven other states have enacted fantasy sports laws this year, with the newest being New York just last week.

The others:

Kansas (2015) and Maryland (2012) previously passed laws dealing with fantasy sports.

The list of states that could still act this year is growing short, and includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California.

 Sam Berube / Flickr