Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Representative Kelcourse Appointed to Online Gaming and Fantasy Sports Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Jim Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) to serve on a special commission charged with conducting a comprehensive study relative to the regulation of online gaming, fantasy sports gaming and daily fantasy sports.

Created as part of a statewide economic development bill signed into law by Governor Baker on August 10, the nine-member special commission will consider all aspects of online gaming and fantasy sports, including issues related to economic development, consumer protection, taxation, legal and regulatory structures, the implications for existing gaming, and the burdens and benefits to the Commonwealth. The special commission is due to report back with its findings and recommendations by July 31, 2017.

“Fantasy sports gaming has come under increased scrutiny this session, and it is important for the state to maintain proper oversight of the industry to ensure that consumers are protected,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident that Jim’s knowledge and insight as a member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies will help guide the special commission as it works to develop a plan to address the many issues surrounding fantasy sports gaming in the Commonwealth.”

Under the economic development bill, online fantasy sports companies like the Boston-based DraftKings are allowed to operate in Massachusetts until July 31, 2018 as long as they comply with regulations established by Attorney General Maura Healey.  Those regulations, which took effect on July 1, limit participation in fantasy sports contests to individuals who are 21 or older, prohibit fantasy sports contests that are tied in to amateur or college athletic events, and establish a deposit limit of $1,000 per month for most players.

The special commission will be chaired by State Representative Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) and Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell), who currently serve as the House and Senate Chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.  The commission will also include a member appointed by Governor Baker with industry expertise in fantasy sports gaming, a member appointed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and a member appointed by the Attorney General who has expertise in fantasy sports gaming consumer protection.

Representative Kelcourse represents the First Essex District, which includes the communities of Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury.  In addition to serving on the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, he is also a member of the Joint Committee on Education and the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.