Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Chair Steve Crosby joined Boston Public Radio Wednesday to discuss the legality and regulation of daily fantasy sports websites, and to take questions from callers.
Questions are paraphrased, and responses are edited where noted [...].
"We just laid out a process. We discussed the various questions we think we have to ask, to some extent is it legal or should it be legal. To a large extent if it is, do we want to regulate it? If we do want to regulate it how? There is a another question, who should do the regulating? That might be us, that might be somebody else, might be the attorney general, whatever, that’s really up to the legislator. We just laid out those questions and put together a process to assess those questions, and committed to putting together a white paper addressing those questions the best within the next month or two I hope."
Will these fantasy sites be taxed like casinos?
"I can only speak for myself, I don’t’ think that the legislature has made up it’s mind, that they want to tax this, that they’re looking for new money. I think people are just saying holy cow this is involving a lot of people, nobody is really paying any attention. There is clearly a problem for consumer protection issues. We don’t know if they are doing anything about responsible gaming, we don’t know if there’s anything about protecting the odds, who is doing what in the back room, and I think policy makers are saying, ‘Jeez we got to look at this, but not jump to any immediately conclusions if we do.' Is there any money to take? What we know is that the casino and the lottery have huge, huge margins. We can take 25 percent of the gross revenue of a casino or 80 percent of the gross revenue of the lottery and tax that because the margins are so huge. We know that it’s been proven over the years, it’s basically slot machines, slot machines are incredibly profitable. Will there be that kind of money or if you impose a 25 percent tax on this industry, would you kill it? Could they not raise the money because they don’t have margins of 50 percent or 75 percent, where they can afford to give 25 percent to the state?"
Are you worried that daily fantasy sites will take money away from casinos and the lottery?
" I've never heard one word from our casino licensees expressing concerns about fantasy sports. The lottery, Deb Goldberg, has not seen any drop in the lottery. There is probably an impact and your commonsense is right. You'd hate to see money coming away from one kind of gambling to another kind of gambling and have the state take less."
Listen to the entire interview with Steve Crosby above.