Massachusetts players of fantasy sports betting companies FanDuel and DraftKings could be impacted by new taxes and regulations.

The Special Commission On Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports has until the end of July to make recommendations about regulations and taxation for the phenomenally successful gaming industry.   The State House News Service says the commission was appointed last year after the legislature voted to make "fantasy contests" legal until July 31, 2018.  Attorney General Maura Healey established a regulatory structure for the experimental period which the companies say has worked well.  Both companies say the state should not tamper much with what is currently in place.

According to the State House News Service, DraftKings and FanDuel are calling for permanently legalizing fantasy sports in Massachusetts and say they  would support a "reasonable registration fee" to cover the cost of reviewing the applications of participants.  That could lead to a registration fee for players.

The SHNS says DraftKings and FanDuel have a combined 787,808 players from Massachusetts and took in more than $17.6 million dollars in revenue from the state in 2016.  Nearly 11 hundred Massachusetts players won $600 dollars or more last year totaling $13.4 million dollars in prizes that were taxed as income in Massachusetts.

Existing rules have a minimum age of 21 for participation in the fantasy sports contests and a minimum $1,000 dollar per month deposit limit on most players, according to  State House News Service reports.

Lawmakers, always eager to tap a spigot into anything that is successful in Massachusetts ought to limit regulations and taxation of the fantasy sports industry or risk losing the lucrative tax benefits the commonwealth is currently receiving.  Here is a case of something that is in no need of fixing.  But, given the track record of our elected officials they will find a way to screw it up badly while trying.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


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