Mass. AG: State will not be influenced by NY moves against DraftKings, FanDuel

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BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Wednesday her review of daily fantasy sports sites would not be influenced by New York's move against DraftKings and FanDuel, and she expressed confidence that rules could be put in place to protect consumers while allowing the companies to continue operating.

Healey, who promised her recommendations by the year's end, said she respected New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's order that Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel stop taking bets in New York, but added: "He has his laws to look at and enforce, we have our laws to look at and enforce."

Massachusetts is one of several states looking at the daily contests that have exploded in popularity of late.

Healey said her goal was a "robust legal and regulatory framework" that focused on protecting consumers and guarding against fraud.

"We want fair advertising, fair disclosures, and I don't want to see people losing their homes or young people getting addicted," the attorney general told reporters before an event at a Boston shelter for homeless veterans.

On Tuesday, Schneiderman said the operations of DraftKings and FanDuel amounted to illegal gambling and a "scheme" to evade laws.

Healey said she did not want to comment on the characterization of the daily fantasy sports companies by her New York counterpart, a fellow Democrat.

"I think anyone looking at this acknowledges that it's a form of gambling," she said. "Just because it's gambling doesn't make it illegal. We play the stock market. There is all kinds of ways in which gambling can happen."

Still, Healey would not completely dismiss the possibility that the companies could be shut down in Massachusetts if they were unwilling to accept whatever rules the state ultimately imposed.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said through a spokesman that he looked forward to Healey's findings, while declining to comment on New York's move. Baker has praised the entrepreneurship of DraftKings' founders, while acknowledging that regulations might be needed.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which regulates casino gambling, is also examining daily fantasy sports.

Healey's predecessor and onetime boss, former Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, has been retained by DraftKings to serve as a legal consultant and said in an interview Wednesday that the company was surprised and disappointed by Schneiderman's ruling.

"We think it's a flawed legal argument. It's certainly done too hastily and, unfortunately, it impacts the hundreds of thousands of players and this new smart, consumer tech industry," she said.

DraftKings, along with FanDuel, intends to "pursue all legal avenues" to challenge the New York's order, Coakley added.

In a statement, DraftKings indicated that a court challenge to Schneiderman's decision was likely and that it was working with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher on all "civil matters, investigations and regulatory inquiries."

The companies maintain that daily fantasy sports involve games of skill rather than chance and that a 2006 federal law against Internet gambling carved out a specific exemption for the games.


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