The Massachusetts online gambling scene awoke from its current slumber this week with the news that the state Gaming Commission has unanimously voted to appoint chairman Steve Crosby as its representative on a new panel that will study online gaming and daily fantasy sports in hopes of informing future policy decisions.
The panel and its mandate was included in economic development legislation signed off by Governor Charlie Baker last month with a requirement that it has its first meeting before November 1. The panel is tasked with submitted its report and recommendations to the state Legislature no later than end July 2017.
The state lottery and its ability to provide lottery products online or over the internet is specifically excluded from the review. Massachusetts Lottery officials have been seeking legislative authorisation to offer their products on the internet, so far unsuccessfully.
The panel will be chaired by Sen. Eileen Donoghue and Rep. Joseph Wagner, the chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, according to local media reports.
On Thursday Crosby briefed fellow gaming commissioners, explaining that the study will aid efforts to devise omnibus laws regulating intrastate online gambling. He said that Massachusetts would be “unique” if it could come up with a “really good omnibus approach.”
The panel will study the regulation of online gaming, fantasy sports gaming and daily fantasy sports, including “economic development, consumer protection, taxation, legal and regulatory structures, implications for existing gaming, burdens and benefits to the commonwealth and any other factors the commission deems relevant.”
Other members of the panel, or special commission as it has also been called, will include one member with industry experience to be chosen by the state governor; one member with fantasy sports consumer protection knowledge chosen by state Attorney General Maura Healey; and members selected by state Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Minority Leader Brad Jones.