Regulators in Massachusetts said on Wednesday that they would be looking into the debate over Fantasy Sports websites, even though the state's Attorney General was conducting a separate review of the industry.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, who is responsible for the issuing of licenses and also regulates horse racing and casino gambling has announced that it would begin discussions of the issues that surround Fantasy Sports at their next meeting on Oct. 29.
The commission plans addressing the issue of whether sites, including the Boston-based DraftKings, are legal, if they need to be regulated, and if so, who should the regulator be, said Stephen Crosby, the chairman of the five-member panel.
Mr. Crosby has described the assessment as a "first conversation," and he noted that any final decisions on whether or how the industry needs to be overseen would rest with the Legislature, with Gov. Charlie Baker and/or perhaps the state courts.
Mr Crosby said in a statement that he believed the commission will be in a position to provide constructive advice on these complex issues where were raised by the emergence of online fantasy sports.
Attorney General, Maura Healey, who had earlier began a review of fantasy sites, told The Boston Globe that her intention was not about shutting down the sites, but about being sure that they are fair.
She mentioned that the state had no laws that explicitly bar Fantasy Sport games, therefore her evaluation would focus on protection of consumers.
Ms. Healey said that should would be examining, among other things, accurate disclosure the companies make to consumers, the type of marketing they do, and how they are treated with regards to tax purposes.
She said that this is an issue that cries out for a regulated legal structure and framework that matches the modern reality of what is happening.
Massachusetts is one of nine states who is looking into the regulation of Fantasy websites in some way.
Ms. Healey said that the decision made by Nevada, that the sites would not be able to operate in the state without a gambling license, was a very reasonable suggestion and good approach and that it was something her office could examine. However she stressed that it would be up to the legislature and the governor to act on recommendations.
DraftKings agreed in a statement the Ms. Healey was taking a reasoned and measured approach to the Fantasy Sport Business.
The two companies contend that their sites are not gambling, that they are legal and thus they were exempt from the Federal online prohibition in 2006.
Robert DeLeo, the House Speaker in Massachusetts said some regulation was needed over the industry given that very large sums of money are involved.
The Winthrop Democrat told reporters that they thought it was necessary to do everything in their power, if needed by regulation, to make sure that everything is run properly and that consumers were being protected.
Stan Rosenberg the State Senate President, who is one of the architects, of the 2011 law, which legalized casino gambling and also created the gambling commission, has applauded the panel's decision to get into the debate.
Recommendations that could possibly emerge from the different reviews will likely provide the legislature with a working framework on how we go about crafting a common sense regulation, for this emerging industry, and to protect consumers, said Mr. Rosenberg.