Lawmakers Debate Sen. Donoghue Bill to Legalize Fantasy Sports Gambling

Source: The Lowell Sun

By Samantha J. Gross

BOSTON– The sun is setting on the temporary legalization of daily fantasy sports gaming, and Sen. Eileen Donoghue is hoping to permanently regulate what she calls a “home-grown industry.”

The Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a hearing Wednesday on the Lowell Democrat’s bill to make daily fantasy sports legal.

In 2016, lawmakers decided to make “fantasy contests” temporarily legal until July 31, 2018. Donoghue’s bill, S2273 would add a new chapter to Massachusetts General Laws to make online daily fantasy sports exempt from the state ban on “illegal gaming.”

The bill requires daily fantasy sports providers like Boston-based DraftKings and FanDuel to register with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and pay a registration fee of up to $100,000.

Once approved, the provider would also pay a 15 percent tax on revenue, a lower tax rate than the 25 percent paid by state casinos or the 49 percent paid by slots parlors.

In her testimony, Donoghue said daily fantasy sports providers are worthy of the state’s support because of what they bring to the commonwealth. For example, DraftKings recently announced that it plans to increase its workforce from 425 current employees to 700 by 2019. The company said 600 of those jobs will be in Boston.

DraftKings issued a statement thanking Donoghue for her efforts, saying that the bill would provide “critical legal certainty” for the industry.