I find this a little bit stunning. The attorney general for Massachusetts speaking about the gambling operation being conducted by Draftkings said: “I think anybody looking at it acknowledges this is a form of gambling. Just because it’s gambling doesn’t make it illegal . . . . I’m not going to use a several-hundred-year-old criminal statute that was written in a time when this kind of industry was never envisioned. I’d like to get beyond that and figure out for policymakers and lawmakers, here should be the rules of the road.”
This is our attorney general admitting a few things. First, despite what everyone who wants to keep Draftkings in operation is saying that it is not gambling operation but one of skill she has dismissed that. She now tells us it is in fact gambling.
Second, our attorney general says because the statutes against gambling are “several-hundred-year old”. as are those against murder, armed robbery and rape, she is not going to enforce the law against DraftKings. She is wrong about the age of the law. The law that Draftkings is violating. chapter 271, section 16A, was enacted in the latter part of the 20th century.
Third, she is usurping the role of the Legislature. It is her job to enforce the law and not be trying to figure out ways to circumvent it.
This is not only about the attorney general but it is also about the district attorneys. They too have a duty to enforce our criminal laws. Are we now going to have them telling us they don’t want to enforce old laws but only new laws? What kind of example is the attorney general setting when she refuses to enforce a law and looks for a work around.
Here is another quote from her that I find incredible: “I think anyone looking at this acknowledges that it’s a form of gambling. Just because it’s gambling doesn’t make it illegal. We play the stock market. There is all kinds of ways in which gambling can happen.”
Can you imagine Massachusetts Attorney General Healey stating that the stock market is the equivalent of fantasy sports betting? She might as well have said living in a capitalistic country with a free market is a form of gambling. When one purchases a home, buys a car, or enters into any deal one is always taking a chance that things may not go as one hoped. But that is not the same as gambling.
There you are buying an asset or a service or making an investment. When you gamble you do not do that. You buy nothing. You put your money up on a chance that you may win. You do not put your money up and get something for it be it an ownership in a company, as you do in the stock market, or a nice car.
This is coming from an attorney general who is reported to have promised during her campaign a strict enforcement of the gambling laws. Now that she is elected we see that she meant only some of the gambling laws
Congressman Frank Pallone from New Jersey said, “Fans are currently allowed to risk money on the performance of an individual player. How is that different than wagering money on the outcome of a game?”
Ma General Laws Chapter 271, section 16A, states: “Whoever knowing organizes, supervises, manages or finances at least four persons so that such persons may provide facilities or services . . . for the illegal registration of bets . . . or upon the happening of any event, or upon the result of a game, competition, . . . or whoever knowingly receives from at least four such persons compensation or payment in any form as a return from . . . such registration or such buying or selling shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than fifteen years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
The definition fits the DraftKings operation to a T. The attorney general has been unable to figure this out after studying it for more than two months. She tells us she will come up with her answer before the end of the year (is it after the close of the football season?).
If DraftKings was owned by the Mafia it would have been shut down in a New York minute; that it is owned and operated by so-called professional people it remains running in violation of our laws. Is it that because big money is involved the law can’t be enforced.
The law DraftKings is violating a law that has been used to incarcerate many people. The U.S. attorney’s office developed the Whitey Bulger case by using the laws against gambling to charge those involved in the operation with money laundering. It too is strangely silent in this matter.
I’m sure the Mafia and other organized crime figures are delighted the state’s attorney general is not going to enforce our gambling laws because they are old. Poor Whitey, he’d still be in operation if the prior attorney generals decided the laws against his activities were several-hundred-year old statutes not to be enforced.