Attorney General Healey announced new regulations for the daily fantasy sports industry today. From the Boston Globe, the highlights are:
Under Healey’s proposal, entrants in the contests would have to be at least 21 years old and cannot be professional athletes or their agents and employees.
The rules also would prohibit daily fantasy companies from extending credit to their customers or running promotional activities on college campuses or at amateur or student sporting events.
The regulations also include provisions to help problem gamblers, though Healey’s office did not immediately detail those sections of the proposal.
These are ok proposals, but they completely miss what is at the core of these companies. They are online gambling, plain and simple. The NY Attorney General sees that and has asked for the games to be shut down in New York. Arizona, Louisiana, Iowa, Montana, Washington, and Nevada ban the games, although Louisiana and Nevada have bans largely due to lobbying from their legal gambling operations.
For an amusing and brutally honest take on the industry, John Oliver has some great stuff. When the CEO of DraftKings compares the game to poker, you know it’s clear what these games really are.
For someone who ran as both a strong consumer advocate and a very vocal opponent of casinos, Healey’s approach to this industry has been inexplicable.
Is this about Martha Coakley doing a great job for her lobbying client, DraftKings, or is this about not wanting to anger a particular sector? DraftKings is a well-loved darling of the “innovation sector” here which is increasingly tinged with anti-regulation libertarianism that has taken over Silicon Valley. Is AG Healey worried about angering that side and losing support from young, urban voters?
Whatever the answers, I am disappointed. These companies have huge potential to take advantage of players, just like every other type of gambling. If we want to tightly regulate or even ban certain types of gambling, these companies should be no exception. And if they are legal, online poker should be as well.