Mass. AG Healey Proposes Regulations For Daily Fantasy Sports

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DraftKings advertisements in Boston's South Station are seen in 2015. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
DraftKings advertisements in Boston's South Station are seen in 2015. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is using her authority as the state’s top consumer advocate to institute what she calls tough new restrictions on daily fantasy sports companies.

“It is very, very important that we take immediate, aggressive and robust action, as we are doing today, to make sure that consumers are protected,” Healey said during a news conference on Thursday.

Among the draft regulations she has outlined:

-- Fantasy players must be 21 or older;
-- deposit limits of $1,000 per month (with exceptions for those who show they can afford more);
-- and no advertising on college campuses.

“I have real concerns about anything that would exacerbate students taking on more debt,” Healey said.

Other restrictions would require daily fantasy companies to make it easier for customers to see whom they’re competing against in the online contests. Healey said experienced people win more money on daily fantasy sport sites, and that beginners need to be protected.

“And so what our regulations will do is to set up tiered systems so that people are able to play against people of equal experience,” Healey said. “If they wish to play against people of higher professional experience, then they’re able to. But this is about transparency.”

The initial reaction from the industry has been mostly positive.

Boston-based DraftKings praised Healey for her “reasoned” approach.

“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,” a DraftKings spokesperson said in a statement.

The Boston company’s chief competitor, FanDuel, said in a statement the regulatory approach “makes a tremendous amount of sense — it provides strong protections for consumers and allows sports fans to continue doing something they love.”

Many players agree.

“It’s nice to see that this is finally happening,” said Brit Devine, a professional daily fantasy sports player. “You know, regulate daily fantasy instead of prohibition like the New York attorney general.” New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, says daily fantasy sports are illegal.

Devine, who lives in New York, plays daily and blogs about the industry pretty much full-time. He said he can quibble with the new Massachusetts regulations, but overall, they make a lot of sense to him.

“It’s just a lot of things that are leveling the playing field that a lot of sites haven’t done internally, because they’ve kind of been exposed to a high rapid growth over the past couple years,” Devine said.

The Massachusetts regulations would only affect Massachusetts residents. But Devine hopes that if the companies have to abide by these rules in one state, they’ll just agree to do it across board.

“So what I’m hoping is that this becomes basically the standard across the nation,” Devine said.

The new Massachusetts rules will be filed Friday and take effect Jan. 22, with possible revisions after a public comment period. But Healey said she expects DraftKings and its competitors to start implementing these rules as soon as possible.

It’s not yet clear whether the regulations will eventually legitimize the industry, or just be in place until Massachusetts lawmakers take daily fantasy sports into their own hands.

This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.

This article was originally published on November 19, 2015.

This segment aired on November 19, 2015.


Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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