Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts Officially Legalises DFS

In the USA’s complex legal system, it can at times be hard to keep up with what’s going on. For an industry as hotly debated as daily fantasy sports, this can be a problem – the situation keeps changing day by day, state by state. In recent weeks, we’ve heard news of Delaware banning DFS just as New York decided to legalise it.

To make matters even more perplexing, Legal Sports Report noted last week that even after legalisation, DFS still isn’t yet legal in New York. It’s all a bit confusing, and means DFS players in the States might not know where they stand. There is, however, some good news. The situation in Massachusetts is now crystal clear: DFS is legal. How did we get here?

The first step: regulation

Eagle-eyed readers might remember that, a few months ago, we reported on Massachusetts making DFS legal. Back in March, the state’s attorney general laid down the rules governing how DFS sites could operate in Massachusetts.

She explicitly stated that she did not consider DFS to be illegal gambling, paving the way for DFS to continue in the state.

Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts

Maura Healey, Massachusetts’ Attorney General, introduced the regulations in March

Still, the situation was changeable. The state’s legislature had still yet to act – and they were free to decide on their own regulations.

A surprise decision

Before last weekend, most commentators believed that the legislature simply hadn’t given any thought at all to DFS. It came as a shock, therefore, when the state House and Senate passed a bill making DFS officially legal late on Sunday evening.

Sunday was the deadline to pass any bills before the House and Senate took their summer recesses, and they rushed to pass a major economic development bill. This bill was broad in scope, and one of the topics it touched upon was daily fantasy sports.

This surprised many: while the bill was known to cover fantasy sports, there had been no prior mention of DFS. (Still not sure what the difference is? We’ve got you covered here!)

Whilst legislatures across the US have passed specific DFS bills, this was the first time that DFS regulations were incorporated into a broader bill. It wasn’t close. The House passed the bill unanimously, while there was just one vote against it in the Senate.

The bill’s two main effects are:

  • To legalise DFS
  • To set up a fantasy sports commission to study all aspects of the game

The actual impact of the bill, however, is likely to be low. Thanks to the Attorney General’s regulations, Massachusetts was already a DFS-friendly state. However, the new fantasy sports commission may eventually come up with new regulations for the game.

Why should UK players care?

On first glance, this doesn’t seem like particularly relevant news for a UK DFS player. While it’s true that there’s no direct impact for players outside the state, this news matters.

For starters, one of the biggest DFS sites of all, DraftKings, is based in Massachusetts. A stable legal environment here means more stability for players worldwide.

Secondly, the US still contributes the vast majority of DFS players. DFS operators need these players to survive and thrive – so it’s vital that DFS is legal in as many areas as possible. After all, a successful DFS industry in the States means more choice for UK players.

We here at DailyFantasyUK believe it’s important to keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in DFS. That’s why we’re committed to bringing you the news you need to know from around the globe. Check it all out in our news section!

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