What is the Best Way Forward for Online Gambling and Daily Fantasy Sports? Massachusetts Commission in a State of Confusion!

After months of inspecting these issues and hours of professional testimony, Massachusetts Special Commission is still undecided, when it comes to finding common ground between Online Gambling, Daily Fantasy Sports, and Fantasy Sports Gaming. The Commission only just managed to approve the findings along with the recommendations that were required with relation to its crafting.

The Votes

Those in Favour:

  • Stephen Crosby, Chairman of Massachusetts Gaming Commission, who was initially appointed by the Gaming Commission
  • Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, who was appointed by Stanley Rosenberg, the Senate President
  • Hirak Shah (legal counsel), who was appointed by Bruce Tarr, the Senate Minority leader
  • Sen. Elaine Donoghue, who is the co-chairman of this special commission
  • Rep. Joseph Wagner, who is also the co-chairman of this special commission

Those Against:

  • Rep. James Kelcourse, who was appointed by Brad Jones, the House minority leader
  • Rep. Mark Cusack, who was appointed by Robert DeLeo, the House Speaker
  • Peter Schoenke, the Chairman of Fantasy Sports Trade Association, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker

Abstaining:

  • Dan Krockmalnic, the Assistant Attorney General, who was appointed by Maura Healey, the Attorney General

Conclusion and Other Recommendations

The top recommendations that were made include:

The status of Daily Fantasy Sports shall remain legal as it will be classified under ‘gaming’
Other forms of online gambling are unavoidable, where the policy makers are recommended to consider them based on their case in the future

“There is and will be a proliferation of these kinds of things,” stated Joseph Wagner during the hearing.

“I believe that the report recommends a path forward for online gaming that will bring both efficiency and, in a cautious way, an omnibus approach with a careful case-by-case analysis,” stated Elaine Donoghue.

Attorney General Still Unconvinced with the Idea of Online Gambling

Maura Healey the Attorney General is not convinced with the idea of legalising online gambling. Dan Krockmalnic, who was the appointee of the Attorney General, abstained from voting on the committee.

Reported by Statehouse News earlier, it is understood that there is an agreement of Attorney General with respect to some of the findings in the report, as stated by Assistant Attorney General Dan Krockmalnic. The only thing that is of concern to the Attorney General is the expansion related to online gambling. Attorney General’s office does not agree with the opinion provided by the committee, stating online gambling’s expansion ‘unavoidable’.

Lawmakers Still Find it Difficult to Control the Gambling Circle

An attempt to separate Daily Fantasy Sports from gaming was also made. However, Rep. Cusack opposed the role the commission was trying to play.

“I didn’t hear a good justification why (the Commission) was well suited to oversee (DFS), and I hope it wasn’t just recommended to justify their existence once these casinos are built,” said Cusack.

Quite Evidently, Daily Fantasy Sports is Not so Happy

Cusack’s concerns were backed by Peter Schoenke, the Chairman of FSTA. In a statement that was released earlier, James Chisholm, who is the Director of Public Affairs has stated:

“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 in every other state in the country on this issue, and send a troubling message to other start-ups. We urge Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Rosenberg, and rest of the Legislature to reaffirm their commitment to Massachusetts start-ups and reject these ill-advised recommendations in whatever legislation is finalised.”

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