Massachusetts OKs fantasy sports betting

Massachusetts OKs fantasy sports betting

November 20, 2015 9:06 AM
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Massachusetts OKs fantasy sports bettingDaily fantasy sports companies can continue operating in Massachusetts but there will be rules, Attorney General Maura Healey ruled Thursday.

Players entering what the Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel must be 21 and games involving college or amateur sports will not be allowed.

Healey’s reaction is decidedly different that of the attorney general in New York who declared that the games offered by the two companies and others are illegal gambling under state law.

FanDuel and DraftKings  were ordered by the AG to stop doing business in New York. They will be back in Supreme Court next week arguing whether daily fantasy action is a game of skill or illegal gambling. Spokesmen for the two companies have long contended that they are offering skill-based contests. DFS competition is like playing the stock market, is the way they put it.

“This is an industry that cries out for transparency and consumer protection,” Healey said in a statement. The Associated Press report of her decision said she considers the “skill-based” competition to be gambling but not illegal gambling.

Massachusetts and New York both allow casinos but neither offers sports betting of the type that is permitted only in Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has already ruled that DFS companies must obtain sports book licenses if they want to operate in the state.

A statement from FanDuel said Healey’s decision makes “a tremendous amount of sense.” Reaction from DraftKings was not immediately available, but a statement is expected.

The Massachusetts decision will be studied carefully in the other states where regulators and lawmakers are discussing the issue. Two Florida lawmakers have introduced Senate and House bills that would permit the daily fantasy contests to be offered.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: PhilHevener@GamingToday.com.

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