There’s an Appetite for Taxing DraftKings on Beacon Hill

Leaders on Beacon Hill want to see the state get its "fair share" of revenue from the games.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

Beacon Hill is starting to pay attention to the rapidly growing world of online gambling daily fantasy sports sites.

On Sunday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo indicated on WCVB’s On The Record he is unsure about the legislature’s role in regulating sites like DraftKing and FanDuel, but he still wants the state to get a cut of their gaming revenues.

“I am not sure of the actual pie that we’re getting right now to be honest with you but I think the state should get its fair share,” said DeLeo.

DeLeo said he was “anxiously awaiting” the report on the legality of daily fantasy sports sites from Attorney General Maura Healey.  It is still not clear if the governor, treasurer or attorney general have the power to regulate the games without action from the legislature.

The speaker did express concern about the scandal currently rocking the daily fantasy sports world, describing it as “insider trading.”

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg echoed DeLeo’s comments while meeting with reporters on Tuesday outside his office, describing the games as “more like horse racing” and games of chance.

“It’s clearly an area that has to be regulated and should be taxed,” said Rosenberg according to a report by Commonwealth.

Rosenberg said he was concerned about the games cutting into the revenues generated by the Lottery, a key source of local aid for cities and towns across Massachusetts.

Last week, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg floated the idea of the Lottery running its own daily fantasy sports games as a way to get in on the latest craze in gambling.

“We’re watching an explosion in the marketplace of gaming that is appealing to a younger customer and more sophisticated customer that hasn’t typically been a Lottery customer,” said Goldberg.

Gov. Charlie Baker was cool to Goldberg’s idea during an interview on Boston Herald Radio, saying fantasy sports should really be more about having fun with your friends than gambling.

“I don’t think anybody ought to do anything until after the attorney general makes some decisions,” said Baker.

Daily fantasy sports sites currently operate within a carve-out in the hastily passed 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act but are illegal in five states. A request for comment from DraftKings was not returned.