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Is Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Massachusetts?

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If you follow sports, you have likely seen an advertisement for “daily fantasy sports” sites like DraftKings or FanDuel. These sites are similar to traditional fantasy sports but, as the name suggests, the games typically only last for one day. Players can play for free but usually bet real money. Daily fantasy games have been around for years but generated controversy after a recent advertising blitz increased awareness and participants. Several states took action against daily fantasy companies, and some, including Washington, prohibited the sites altogether by classifying the games as illegal gambling.

Many thought that Massachusetts would also ban daily fantasy sports.  However, after conducting a review last year, the Massachusetts Attorney General declined to do so and instead introduced comprehensive consumer protection regulations intended to make the games safer and more fair.  These regulations require daily fantasy sites operating in Massachusetts to:

  • Advertise truthfully and fully disclose the terms of all promotional offers;
  • Protect consumer data;
  • Distinguish between “beginner” players and more experienced players;
  • Restrict advertising and participation from minors; and
  • Limit the amount a player may deposit into the site over a given period.

Soon after the regulations went into effect last summer, Governor Baker signed a bill that officially legalized daily fantasy games until at least July 31, 2018. The new law affirmed the Attorney General’s regulatory authority and created a special commission to study the effects of daily fantasy games. The commission will be required to report and recommend further legislative action in advance of the July 31, 2018 expiration of the current legalization period.

Daily fantasy sites continue to face challenges, including fierce competition, consumer litigation, and different sets of rules and regulations in different states. For now, though, there is no question that daily fantasy sports is legal in Massachusetts.

About the Author

Andrew DiCenzo is a litigation associate who concentrates his practice in business, employment and administrative law and litigation.

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