Healey on Draft Kings: We’re hearing them out

AG says that officials from fantasy sports website came to her

BOSTON (State House News Service) – Attorney General Maura Healey said Monday that her office’s review of the Boston-based fantasy sports website Draft Kings was initiated by the company that has shaken up football fandom.

“Draft Kings actually came to our office and wanted to reach out and talk to us about a new industry, so we heard them out, we’re hearing them out on it, and as I said, we’re just looking to learn more,” Healey told reporters after speaking to recovering substance addicts in Gardner Auditorium.

The company offers fantasy drafts in a number of sports and the opportunity to win cash prizes, a feature the company maintains is a legal, skill-based prize, rather than illegal sports wagering.

“Federal law does not really wade into the waters of defining what gambling is, by and large,” LegalSportsReport.com editor Chris Grove told the Washington Post. “That leaves that question up to the states, and that’s where you get to very difficult questions of how you measure the distribution of skill and chance in an activity.”

Massachusetts lawmakers in 2011 legalized casino gambling and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s approval Friday of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s 2007 application for land in trust raised the new prospect of up to four casinos being located in Massachusetts.

Following the call by Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. for a hearing on fantasy sports, the Post was questioning the legality of sites such as DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com, which is based in New York City.

Powered by ubiquitous advertising, Draft Kings has placed itself on the minds of sports fans and government regulators alike.

Last week the News Service asked Healey whether Draft Kings is an “illegal sports betting” operation or a “new, cool” business.

“The point is this: This is a new industry. It’s something that we’re reviewing, and we’ll learn more about it,” Healey responded.

The American Gaming Association, which represents the casino industry, said its members are eager for clarity – whether through the state or federal government – on the legal status of the new industry.

“Many of our members would like to leverage their brands and years of gaming expertise to provide this product to their customers. But the current lack of legal clarity is an obstacle. The industry agrees this is an issue that must be addressed,” said AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman in a statement.

Promising to provide strict oversight to the casino industry, Healey likened her review of Draft Kings to the type provided to other industries, and she said there is no timeframe for completion of the review.

“We get calls from any number of the industry folks wanting to come in and talk about what they’re doing and it’s as simple as that, and we’ll leave it at that,” Healey said.

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