Playing daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is legal and regulated in the state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law legalizing DFS in 2016. However, unlike many other states with DFS legislation, there are no fees or taxes associated with DFS operations in the state.

That said, the current deal allowing DFS sites to accept customers in Massachusetts expires in 2018. Taxes and fees could be added when local lawmakers make a decision on whether or not to continue at that time.

Daily fantasy sports regulation in Massachusetts

Massachusetts regulated DFS in 2016 as a part of a larger economic development bill. The law allowed fantasy sports operators to offer contests with cash prizes through July 31, 2018, in accordance with regulations set out by Attorney General Maura Healey.

There were no fees or taxes in the bill. The regulations include:

  • Players must be over 21 years of age
  • No contests involving college games and other amateur sporting events
  • Truth in advertising standards apply
  • Deposits limits of $1,000 a month
  • Entries limited to 150 or 3 percent, whichever is smaller

Right out of the gate, Healey said there were no federal or state laws that prohibit DFS sites from operating. Healey believes neither DFS services nor their customers, were breaking the law.

But instead of leaving it at that, she performed a review of the industry, and proposed a set of DFS industry regulations in the fall of 2015.

The regulations included prohibiting play by minors, ensuring truthful advertising, and increasing transparency. The regulations also set out to:

  • Protect player deposits
  • Include data and security measures
  • Address problem gambler issues
  • Create a level playing field

The regulation were a first of their kind for the DFS industry, and were ultimately put in place after the state passed DFS legislation in 2016.

A number of Massachusetts lawmakers are considering adopting a new schedule of taxes and fees when the current legislation expires in 2018. Proposed plans include tens of thousands of dollars in licensing fees and taxes of up to 12 percent on revenues.

Biggest daily fantasy sports sites in Massachusetts

DraftKings actually calls the city of Boston, MA home. Considering that, and the fact FanDuel and DraftKings have a more than 90 percent DFS market share across the country, DraftKings, and to a lesser extent FanDuel, are the largest DFS operators in the state.

How popular is daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is the 15th-most populous state in America. However, it punches well above its weight in terms of DFS. There is a long and storied history of professional sports in the state. As a result, there is a large market for DFS.

It is estimated DFS sites are pulling in as much as $7.4 million in revenue from Massachusetts players annually. In fact, the state is responsible for more than six percent of all DFS contest entry fees in the United States.

Estimates also suggest Massachusetts has more than 75,000 active DFS players. Those players are responsible for more than $75 million in annual entry fees. All these statistics make Massachusetts a top-ten state in terms of DFS activity.