Massachusetts Isn’t Done With Fantasy Sports Regulation Quite Yet

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Massachusetts DFS plans

Massachusetts has been one of the leaders of the movement across the US to contemplate the legality of daily fantasy sports and regulate the portion of the industry that runs paid-entry websites.

Despite all the work done there to date, the commonwealth isn’t nearly done with thinking about what to do next with DFS.

New commission continues DFS discussion

The Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports met for the first time this week. But it’s far from the first time regulators or lawmakers in the state have thought about DFS.

Attorney General Maura Healey was one of the first to weigh in on the legality of DFS; later she introduced regulations via the power of her office that took effect earlier this year.

Later this year, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill clarifying the legality of paid-entry fantasy sports for companies in compliance with Healey’s regulations.

But that law enacted was mostly a stopgap for the legislature to consider doing more; the law only runs through July 31, 2018.

That gives the statehouse more time to figure out what it’s doing moving forward, including more comprehensive regulatory oversight and whether the industry should be licensed and/or taxed. The latter is something a number of states have done this year via new laws.

About the commission

The commission is charged with conducting a study about the topics in its name: online gambling and DFS. Its members can be seen here.

The appointments with a fantasy leaning include:

The results of the study are due to the legislature by the end of June next year, giving the commission plenty of time to talk about its recommendations. The group is tentatively planning to meet every month or so.

What might it recommend?

What kind of findings will the commission come to regarding DFS?

It’s too early to say that, but the discussion is likely to be guided and framed by the state’s gaming commission, which has already done a lot of work on the subject. That included publishing a white paper in which the MGC called for a legislative solution for dealing with the industry.

MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby is serving on the panel. Crosby and the MGC have advocated for giving his body a great deal of freedom of regulatory oversight as it pertains to both online gambling and DFS.

However, it remains to be seen if the legislature has an appetite for allowing the MGC to wield that kind of power.