Important to Regulate Fantasy Sports Contests

Source: Newburyport Daily News

Editorial

Last year, a special commission on Beacon Hill studied the burgeoning digital fantasy sports industry — think DraftKings and FanDuel. In July, the commission concluded the industry could only get bigger, the state should regulate it, the state should get a piece of the action and, in the ultimate stamp of approval, the state should “consider promoting eSports as an economic development opportunity. …”

After an initial period of handwringing about whether fantasy sports were just gambling in a thin disguise (they are) and whether their popularity among younger people only encouraged gambling (time will tell), the special commission’s report provided information that shined a light on an industry that was a natural outgrowth of popular fantasy sports leagues.

Now, state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who was chair of the special commission, has filed a bill to make the popular fantasy sports contests permanently legal, putting the industry under the state Gaming Commission for oversight and regulation.

Donoghue’s bill (SD 2480) is aimed at clarifying what these fantasy sports are and what regulations they must operate under. It also looks to extract a measure of profit from them much the way the state has targeted the one slot parlor and, eventually, the two large-scale casinos destined for Springfield and Everett. The senator was wise in crafting the bill to exempt fantasy sports contests from the state law against illegal gaming, such as under-the-table sports betting, or, in more extreme cases, bets on dog or cock fighting, for example.

By legalizing and regulating fantasy sports contests, the commonwealth stands to tap into a steady new flow of revenue.