By Seth Daniel
Speaker Bob DeLeo said this week that he believes some regulations are needed for the Daily Fantasy Sports industry in Massachusetts, and will likely nominate a group to study the issue in the coming year.
“It’s been such a difficult issue,” said DeLeo. “At the very least, we should get some type of regulation to clear up the uncertainty.”
Daily Fantasy Sports has taken the sports betting world by storm with two Massachusetts companies, FanDuel and Draft Kings, which originated here. Fans are able to play “fantasy” sports online day by day. Already, the practice has been outlawed in some states like New York and Texas, to name a few. It was estimated recently that 51 million people play the Daily Fantasy Sports services.
DeLeo said he would likely put together a group of legislators to study what regulations might be needed for the new betting sensation.
“What we’re planning on doing now is to get some information from the attorney general and the Gaming Commission,” he said. “What I’d like is a type of commission with a number of people whose experience is in a variety of areas…I’m looking to put in place a commission of a number of people to concentrate on each areas and plan to take a visit, to go out and see how they do their business. I had visited the Daily Fantasy Sports folks in originally.”
Last Thursday, Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) Chair Steve Crosby said he believes that the legislature will take up the issue. Late last year, he produced a “white paper” study on Daily Fantasy Sports. That evoked quite a bit of discussion at the MGC, but now he said he’s ready to turn over that paper to lawmakers.
“We think the Legislature will be dealing with Daily Fantasy Sports this session in some way or another,” said Crosby. “The House and Senate haven’t made a definite committee announcement, but it is in gestation. It’s out of our hands now and in the Legislature’s hands to do as they see fit.”
DeLeo said Daily Fantasy Sports is an issue that is remarkably like many tough issues that he and other lawmakers are called on to sort out. Those new issues have one thing in common, he said – technology.
“Whether it’s the Uber and taxi issue or the Daily Fantasy Sports, the issues coming to us these days are very different and the one think that unites them is technology,” he said. “Technology has really changed what we look at. It’s fascinating.”