PHAI Finds Online Fantasy Sports Gambling Operators in “Clear” Violation of Massachusetts Law

A review by a prominent public interest law organization based in Boston revealed that online sports gambling operators like DraftKings are in “clear” violation of Massachusetts law.

The findings were included in an October 16th legal memo to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office that was prepared by the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University.

PHAI, led by Northeastern University Distinguished Professor of Law Richard Daynard, is nationally-recognized for its effective legal advocacy combating the epidemics caused by tobacco and obesity.

In contrast, Attorney General Healey, has publicly said the law regarding online fantasy sports gambling is “unclear.”

“The lack of any action to stop the illegal business of online fantasy sports gambling and look the other way or wait until some future legislative action allows it sends the wrong message: that it is acceptable to engage in an illegal business now and, if it generates enough revenue, wait until lobbyists and corporate interests change its legal status,” said Mark Gottlieb, Executive Director of PHAI.

PHAI conducted its review after being contacted by Stop Predatory Gambling, a national government reform group against state-sponsored gambling operations.

The findings of PHAI’s review include:

  • “Daily Fantasy Sports” constitutes illegal internet sports gambling under Massachusetts law and is legally indistinguishable from a privately run lottery or numbers game.
  •  The Supreme Judicial Court has long ago settled what constitutes illegal gambling and online fantasy sports gambling operators clearly fall into this category
  •  The profit model for online fantasy sports gambling operators is based on the mass recruitment of unskilled players, which is why state residents have been blanketed with nonstop advertising
  •  Online fantasy sports gambling operators are targeting Massachusetts youth
  •  Other states have recognized that online fantasy sports gambling IS gambling

“The internet gambling operations run by DraftKings and FanDuel are predatory, deceptive, illegal and coming at the expense of everyday citizens,” said Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling.