The Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is close to finalizing a report. It has to submit the report to the government next week. The commission released a draft of the report. So that it could be reviewed by members fully before it is submitted for a final vote.
The most important takeaway from the report is that the Commission recommends the permanent legalization of daily fantasy sports. It will also place it in the category of online gaming. It calls for laws to be passed to give the industry the necessary regulatory framework. So that it can come under the governance and tax umbrellas.
The Commission has given DFS a green light. But it recommends that other types of online gambling be not legalised at the moment. The state has two resort casinos in the final stages of readiness. Hence, the Commission does not want to jeopardize their chances to have a good start. Even so, it suggests that the online gambling business is evaluated continuously not just at the state but also at the federal level.
Online Gambling Supporters Disappointed
The online gambling lobby in the state has been deeply disappointed by the Commission’s suggestion to delay giving online casino games and poker legal status. However, it’s fair to say that if the legislature gives a nod to online gambling including DFS then it is only a question of time when other forms of gambling are also legalized.
There is also a good chance that the start of online gambling operations via certain powers given to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will mean that poker and casino games can be offered without any special legislation. For instance, any state run lotteries have the right to offer their games on the internet without having to seek legislative approval first. Of course, Massachusetts will only get online casino and poker if the MGC is given the necessary authority.
Wide Definition of Gaming Benefits MCG
It shouldn’t have surprised anyone that the Commission has included DFS within online gaming. After all, MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby who is also a member of the Commission has long pushed for flexibility in regulations. The gambling industry is evolving at a tremendously fast pace, and regulators will find themselves hampered by rigid laws. Crosby also opines that far too much time and money has been wasted on trying to understand whether DFS is a game of chance or of skill. He goes on to say that it shouldn’t make a difference, either way, to determine the public policy to regulate these games.
DFS Operators not too Happy with Recommendation
DraftKings has taken offense at DFS being included under the online gaming umbrella by the Special Commission. James Chisholm is a senior executive at DraftKings. He objected to the categorization, saying that no other country had included fantasy sports in the category of online gaming. As a matter of fact, no other state in the US puts DFS in the online gaming category. However, it is termed as gambling in Nevada and a few other states. DFS operators in Nevada are expected to have gaming licenses before they can offer their services.
Chisholm also expressed his concern about the future of DraftKings in Massachusetts. Especially, if the state passed a law that included DFS as online gambling. He said that the company had established itself well in the state. It employs more than 300 people in 79 places across it. He said that DraftKings was focused on expanding its presence in the state. But it expected to run into trouble with laws that were not well considered.