Massachusetts AG sends C&Ds to several licensed fantasy operators in the state

Cease and desist letter
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The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office announced on Tuesday that the group has sent cease and desist orders to ten fantasy operators offering pick’em-style fantasy sports in the state.

In the state, it is the Attorney General’s office that oversees fantasy sports. Interested operators submit a relatively simple application to the office, receive approval and pay 15% tax on fantasy proceeds in the state.

Despite receiving AG approval in the state, the office has determined that pick’em contests are not covered under fantasy sports licenses and are in violation of the law. Here is an excerpt of the letter sent to operators:

“This type of wager is a parlay. The Gaming Labs International Standards for Event Wagering Systems, GLI-33, which is incorporated by reference into the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s regulations for Sports Wagering Equipment, 205 Code Mass. Regs. 243, 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 G.L. c. 23N, § 3. Because ‘pick’em’ games are sports wagering, they are not ‘fantasy contests’ as that term is defined in G.L. c. 12, § 11M1/2.”

The following operators received the letter:

  • Boom Fantasy
  • OwnersBox
  • Parlay Play
  • Real Time Fantasy Sports
  • Sleeper
  • Splash Sports
  • Talid Sports dba Chalkboard Fantasy Sports
  • Two Nine Sports dba StatHero
  • Vivid Picks
  • Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Sports

Every operator save for Splash Sports is licensed by the AG’s office to operate in the state.

Notably, PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy were not on the list of operators who received a letter. Underdog confirmed they are no longer offering pick’em in the state.

“In consultation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, we’ve moved to our peer-to-peer pick’em product in Massachusetts,” Underdog Fantasy Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Stacie Stern told SBC Americas.

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

“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. I want to thank the MGC for their partnership in prioritizing these matters,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell in a statement.

“To ensure a safe, legal and regulated sports wagering market, every operator in Massachusetts must play by the same rules. 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,” added Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein.