The Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports has issued their recommendations on various forms of iGaming in the state. Unfortunately, it is not news that iPoker supporters want to hear.
Presently, the Commission is recommending against expanding into any forms of online gambling outside of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). However, this recommendation comes with a caveat.
Draft Only Supports Regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports
The commission released a draft of their recommendations earlier this week and presently only support regulating DFS as a form of online gaming.
According to the report, “the Special Commission recommends legalizing DFS as a subset of online gaming and enacting legislation that would put into law the proposed regulatory, governance, and taxation system described above.”
DraftKings quickly came out in opposition of the online gaming classification of DFS. DraftKings director of public affairs James Chisholm stated, “We fundamentally disagree with some of the recommendations in the Commission’s draft report, particularly its proposal to define fantasy sports as ‘online gaming. No other state in the country has characterized fantasy sports this way.”
Chisholm also pointed out that DraftKings is based out of Boston, MA and that regulations as presently recommended could impact their ability to grow in the future.
The problem with the classification of online gaming is that it lumps DFS together with other gambling variants that rely less on skill. DFS is considered to be a skill-based game rather than a gambling game. However, some states including Nevada classify DFS as gambling.
Online Poker Not Recommended - For Now
Supporters of online poker are surely discouraged over the report as they recommend the state refrain from pursuing iPoker or general iGaming regulation, at least for the time being. The primary reason for this recommendation is that two future Massachusetts casinos are not yet open.
All regulated states have partnered online gambling and iPoker activities with casinos in some form. In Nevada and New Jersey, online casinos and poker rooms must be licensed through an existing casino in the state. Delaware runs online gambling through the state lottery but sites are partnered with state racinos.
The report recommends reevaluating iGaming and iPoker after the casinos open. They also recommend that legislative oversight continue to monitor iGaming activities at state and federal levels until that time.
Report Confirms Expected Path for iGaming in State
Massachusetts has been a long shot to regulate iPoker since rumblings began a couple of years ago, primarily due to the lack of casinos in the state. We’ve even predicted in the past that iGaming would not be seriously considered until those resorts opened, giving a general estimate of 2020 as to when iPoker would get there.
This report further supports our predictions and for the exact reasons we stated over a year ago. The DFS recommendation is not surprising due to the expansion of the industry. It is somewhat akin to lottery expansion in the US. States were formed to address the issue due to ever-growing expansion of the industry.
Note that this report is merely recommendations and doesn’t guarantee that lawmakers will follow them. Chances are they will proceed on the recommendations, but even then there’s no expected timeline for when DFS will be legal in the state.