Anti-Gambling Group Urges State To Rethink Daily Fantasy Sports

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DraftKings logo (PRNewsFoto/DraftKings, Inc.)

DraftKings logo (PRNewsFoto/DraftKings, Inc.)

A national anti-gambling group is out with a new report that warns states about the addictive nature of daily fantasy sports and discourages states like Massachusetts from launching their own state run games.

The group believes government involvement or sanctioning of the games makes them more dangerous for vulnerable individuals because it creates a false sense of approval. Stop Predatory Gambling wants to shut down not only online gambling sites like Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel, but end all state sponsored gambling activities like scratch tickets and lotteries.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg announced last month that the Lottery should develop its own version of daily fantasy sports games for players in Massachusetts as it’s an untapped market for state gaming revenue.

The Washington-based Stop Predatory Gambling wants none of that, because it sees the games as a gateway for younger gamblers who do not gamble in the traditional way at a Lottery kiosk or in a brick-and-mortar casino.

In an interview with the State House News Service, the national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, Les Bernal, said Massachusetts is very susceptible to predatory online gambling: “Massachusetts, in terms of its state lottery, is by far one of the biggest predatory gambling states in the nation, so it is not surprising they’re ahead of some other states when it comes to getting new ways to get citizens to lose their money.”

He went on to call online fantasy sports a “gimmick” that “is a bridge to allow them to open up and market new forms of predatory gambling to an entirely new younger generation of citizens to get them hooked on gambling.”

The Stop Predatory Gambling report warned that online gambling sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are actually much worse than traditional forms of gambling, because they make gambling easily accessible and gratification instant. Plus, the gamblers who play these games are much younger than typical gamblers who prefer casinos or lottery tickets.

It goes on to state that, “Internet gambling is especially addictive for youth who have grown up playing video games.By deceptively luring youth into online gambling, these sports gambling operators are setting up an entire generation of young people to become problem gamblers by making exploitive forms of gambling omnipresent in everyday life, whether in their own homes or on the smartphones they carry with them.”

While talking to State House New Service, Bernal warned that state regulation or operation of these games is focused primarily on maximizing revenue for the government, not on protecting players and individuals vulnerable to online gambling, saying “Only the uninformed and the willfully ignorant would suggest that government will promote internet gambling in a different, more ethical manner than its track record with lotteries and regional casinos demonstrates.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to issue a report on daily fantasy sports in the coming months.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2015/11/06/anti-gambling-group-rethink/