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NEWS 1 August 2017

Massachusetts Commission report classifies DFS as the same as iGaming

By Robert Simmons
A specially appointed commission which is investigating daily fantasy sports (DFS) and iGaming in the US state of Massachusetts has stated that DFS should be treated in the same way as iGaming, which is currently illegal in the Bay state.

The Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports voted 5-3 to adopt the final version of its report, which recommended that DFS be treated just the same as any other form of iGaming.

Legislation allowing DFS passed in the state earlier this year, which classified DFS as a “game of skill” thereby, exempting it from the same legal classification as iGaming. At the same time, the state agreed to the formation of the commission, which was tasked with examining the law ahead of its sunset in August 2018.

The commission is comprised of a mix of experts from within the DFS & IGaming industry together with officials appointed by the Massachusetts senate and House of Representatives.

Boston based DraftKings have already released a statement regarding the commission’s vote, in which its Director of Public Affairs, James Chisholm had this to say: “While this commission report is merely a recommendation, it runs directly counter to the economic development law that overwhelmingly passed last year designed to promote the state’s Innovation Economy.

The commission’s actions today, as we and our partners in the fantasy sports industry pointed out time and time again, could restrain our company’s ability to thrive and create jobs here in Massachusetts.

These recommendations if ever adopted would put us behind every other state in the country on this issue, and send a troubling message to other startups. We urge Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Rosenberg, and rest of the Legislature to reaffirm their commitment to Massachusetts startups and reject these ill advised recommendations in whatever legislation is finalized.”

Peter Schoenke, chairman of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association told the Boston Herald newspaper: “The recommendations would take Massachusetts from being perhaps the best environment for our industry to being one of the most problematic,”

If Massachusetts decides to reverse its stance on DFS, then it is highly likely that both DraftKings and its main competitor FanDuel will be forced to pull out of the state entirely. In any event, the report sets a dangerous precedent which could potentially force other states which have passed measures legalising DFS to re-examine their respective positions on the matter.

RELATED TAGS: Land-Based | eSports | Sports Betting | Legal & Regulatory
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