Massachusetts Attorney General Cracks Down On Fantasy Sports Operators

February 29, 2024
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Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has ordered ten fantasy sports operators to cease offering pick’em style games, and while two of the most popular daily fantasy operators did not receive such an order, they are voluntarily altering their offerings in the state.
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Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has ordered ten fantasy sports operators to cease offering pick’em style games, and while two of the most popular daily fantasy operators did not receive such an order, they are voluntarily altering their offerings in the state.

The attorney general’s office sent cease-and-desist letters this week to multiple fantasy contest operators who offer the single-statistic type of game, calling the games an impermissible form of sports betting.

“This type of wager is a parlay,” Campbell's office wrote in a letter to the ten companies, citing state gaming regulations that define a parlay as “a single wager that links together two or more individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together.”

“Such parlays are expressly included in the definition of 'sports wagering' set forth in [state law],” the letter continues. “Because ‘pick’em’ games are sports wagering, they are not ‘fantasy contests’ as that term is defined in [law].”

The letter goes on to order the companies to cease offering “pick’em, parlay, or any other games that are ‘sports wagering’ under our law” and says that to resume offering the games, the companies must obtain sports betting licensure.

The attorney general's letter also says that at the time of writing, the office was aware that “two operators have voluntarily committed to cease their offers of such games in Massachusetts.”

Vixio GamblingCompliance confirmed Wednesday (February 28) that PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy will both switch to offering peer-to-peer versions of their pick’em games.

“In consultation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, we’ve moved to our peer-to-peer pick’em product in Massachusetts,” said Stacie Stern, Underdog’s senior vice president of government affairs.

“PrizePicks has reached an agreement with regulators in Massachusetts to offer our peer-to-peer Arena game starting March 8th,” PrizePicks said in a statement. “We appreciate the Massachusetts regulator's willingness to work with us to make sure PrizePicks members and fantasy sports fans have no interruptions in their access to our contests.”

The ten companies that received letters from the Attorney General were BoomFantasy, OwnersBox, Parlay Play, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Sleeper, Splash Sports, Chalkboard Fantasy Sports, StatHero, Vivid Picks  and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Sports.

“In Massachusetts, we have laws on the books that demand safe and responsible conduct from gaming operators, and when those laws are ignored, my office will not hesitate to enforce them as a matter of public health and consumer protection,” said Campbell in a statement. “I want to thank the [Massachusetts Gaming Commission] for their partnership in prioritizing these matters.” 

“To ensure a safe, legal and regulated sports wagering market, every operator in Massachusetts must play by the same rules,” stated Cathy Judd-Stein, chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

“The attorney general is a critical partner in these efforts as the MGC implements its regulations and takes action to disrupt and eradicate illegal sports wagering in the Commonwealth. We thank Attorney General Campbell for her leadership and partnership.”

Massachusetts’s 17 licensed fantasy operators accounted for over $24.8m in gross revenue in January 2024, with the ten companies who received letters plus PrizePicks and Underdog who are voluntarily combining to generate about $13.6m of that revenue, although some operators also offer products other than the against-the-house fantasy game.

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