Massachusetts Lottery Considering Offering Fantasy Sports Betting

Amid fears the popularity of fantasy sports betting sites could threaten casino and lottery revenue across America, the Massachusetts Lottery’s new executive director, Michael R. Sweeney, has decided ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ In a report, he stated “by engaging a next-generation player [with its own fantasy game], the Lottery will be creating a new revenue source as opposed to eroding existing offerings”, adding that protecting the growth of the institution was necessary as “it is the single largest source of unrestricted funds - nearly $1 billion - to the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns.”

Massachusetts Lottery Considering Offering Fantasy Sports Betting

Sweeney told the audience at a presentation this week that the state should investigate the resources and technology it needed to create its own daily fantasy sports offering through the legislature. He claimed any such game would protect players and ensure fairness, something that critics of the genre say existing firms like DraftKings and FanDuel cannot do as they are not subject to gambling regulation.

An FBI investigation is underway into the legality of current daily fantasy sports companies, who claim their contests do not constitute gambling as they rely on the skill of competitors to choose a team of players from any one of a host of sports. These athletes earn points for the fantasy team based on their actions in real-life fixtures, with cash prizes for the best performing teams.

The two biggest companies on the market have already been the subject of an enquiry, following DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell winning $350,000 in a contest on FanDuel. Haskell was cleared of insider trading after it was shown he only received sensitive player-pick data after his fantasy squad was locked down.

Massachusetts state Treasurer, Deborah B. Goldberg, has already expressed her own support for the fantasy sports betting plan, although she cautioned that any game would have to benefit the lottery’s 7,500 retailers so as not to take away footfall from their shops.

The Massachusetts Lottery would become the first in the country to offer a daily fantasy sports option. It currently allows players to take part in multistate games like Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as local favourites Megabucks Doubler and Mass Cash.

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Article Last Modified: Friday, 14 October 2016 11:29:19+00:00
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