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Massachusetts’ Special Commission Issues Online Gambling Report

- July 26, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The state is likely to legalise DFS next year.

Massachusetts will have to wait for online gambling legalisation.

Massachusetts is one of the states where the debate on online gambling legalisation has been ongoing and very fierce, especially in the last few years. There are many people who feel very strongly, either in favour of legalisation or against it and they have been arguing for and against, both in the media as well in the state’s legislative bodies.

On the ballot of the last year’s Presidential Election, residents of Massachusetts also had the chance to vote on whether or not they support the decision to open a second casino parlour in the state. The citizens of Massachusetts rejected the idea. In the following period online gambling was the main topic and the proponents of the idea were determined to enlist their state in one of the few American states where online gambling is legal.

Earlier this year, the President of the State Senate, Rosenberg said that Massachusetts is not yet ready for online gambling legalisation and that the decision will have to wait until 2018. Now, the report by the Special Commission that was formed to deal with the issue of online gambling fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports legalisation suggests pretty much the same thing.

Daily Fantasy Sports Can Be Legalised

The Special Commission report recommends the legalisation of daily fantasy sports, but at the same time suggests that the legalisation of online casino gambling and online poker should be postponed. While the state is ready to embrace DFS, it is not yet ready for online gambling, at least not until the two land-based casinos in the state MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor are opened. The Commission feels that the impact of these two casinos should be analysed before a step in the direction of online gambling legalisation is taken.

The report of the Commission also contains provisions suggesting the evaluation of online gambling activities at the federal level, as well as at state level (the states where it is legal), and the idea behind this is that the evaluation will lead Massachusetts and its lawmakers to reach a better decision regarding online gambling and its legalisation.

DraftKings Says DFS Isn’t Gambling

The Special Commission has given its members time until the end of July to evaluate the report and choose whether to implement the suggestions. The report isn’t binding, but it should be noted that the state Gaming Commission has already indicated that Massachusetts might join Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware and become the next US state to legalise online gambling.

One curious fact is that Boston-based operator DraftKings has reacted to the terminology that was used in the report regarding daily fantasy sports. Namely, DFS was listed together with other gambling activities, whereas DraftKings’ representatives feel that DFS is a game of skill.

DraftKings’ Public Affairs Chief said that the wording might have a negative impact of the company and its Massachusetts employees. Massachusetts erased DFS from the list of illegal gambling categories, but a clause in the decision requires that lawmakers reach a decision by the end of July 2018.

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