Maura Healey Proposes Regulations for Daily Fantasy Sports
Attorney General Maura Healey announced proposed regulations for daily fantasy sports games like Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel on Thursday in a highly attended twenty minute press conference.
The move by Healey is a departure from her counterparts in other states, who have imposed bans on the online gambling sites.
“This is an industry that, so many have already acknowledged, calls out for transparency and robust consumer protections,” said Healey.
Healey, billing the proposed new rules as “first-of-their-kind consumer protection regulations,” said she wants to see daily fantasy sports games limited to adults over the age of 21, a ban on athletes and others connected with professional sports from participating in the games, new regulations to help problem gamblers, and a ban on the gambling sites extending credit to players.
“These are the rules of the road should they wish to continue to operate here in Massachusetts,” Healey said.
One of the more intriguing proposals put forth by Healey is one that would limited players to depositing no more than $1,000 per month to play on the gambling sites. Players seeking to exceed that threshold would need to receive approval from the companies that they are of means to play with more than $1,000 per month.
Professional gamblers are a problem for the site and contribute to a staggering statistical divide between players where roughly less than two percent of players take home 90 percent of the winnings. Healey said she wants to see some kind of highly visible indentification of professional players, frequently called sharks, in games. The regulations would implement a tiered approach for skill levels that would create a space for where beginners could take on beginners.
The nonstop invasive advertising of the games will need to change under the new regulations. The ads will have to include information for problem gamblers and disclose the average new winnings of all players. This is a major because there is a big between plain old winnings and net winnings. In addition, daily fantasy sports advertising will be banned on college campuses though it’s unclear how much of an effect that will have because DraftKings and FanDuel slap their name on pretty much anything.
Healey, a strong opponent of casino gambling, admits that daily fantasy sports games are a form of gambling but there are no laws on the books in Massachusetts or at the federal level that make them illegal.
“I think that are certainly any number of overlaps in what you see between the two industries. Look, that said a difference here is in Massachusetts we have a very robust regulatory legal framework that applies to casinos. What we don’t have is a similar framework that applies to daily fantasy sports,” said Healey.
When asked if the tacit approval of daily fantasy sports gambling will lead to the legalization of all sports gambling, Healey deflected the question.
DraftKings and FanDuel issued separate statements on Healey’s proposed regulations.
“The Massachusetts Attorney General has taken a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to the Fantasy Sports Industry. While we do have some concerns with the draft regulations, we intend to work closely with the Attorney General’s office to ensure we are operating in the best interest of our customers. We will utilize the next 60 days to share our comments in the hopes of effecting some changes and are firmly committed to continuing to operate in a lawful and transparent manner. We will immediately begin taking steps to prepare to implement the changes to our product that the Attorney General requires.
We appreciate that, in addition to Attorney General Healey, a number of state regulators and other authorities are taking a reasoned approach to the Fantasy Sports industry that considers the interests of sports fans who love to play these games and recognizes the value in innovation and entrepreneurship.
We believe the process followed by AG Healey and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will ultimately result in a positive outcome for the millions of fantasy sports fans around the country who want to be able to enjoy DraftKings’ games in a fun, fair, and transparent environment.”
“Attorney General Healey’s approach towards regulating fantasy sports makes a tremendous amount of sense — it provides strong protections for consumers and allows sports fans to continue doing something they love. FanDuel believes that regulations which increase transparency and ensure contests are fair will benefit the entire fantasy industry. We appreciate that there will be a public notice and comment period to collect input from all relevant parties and FanDuel will submit our comments to the regulations in the next 60 days. We also welcome the opportunity to work with Attorney Generals in all states, along with other lawmakers, to implement fair regulations that benefit both consumers and sports tech innovators.”