Representative George Dunbar of Pennsylvania has a plan to see daily sports fantasy sites working with the casinos of the state. During a meeting last week of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, it was discussed as to how the daily fantasy sports industry should be overseen by the state. Another hearing has been scheduled on the subject for December 3rd.
During the hearing, DFS sites were discussed and other states rulings were considering, including the fact that New York had decided to ban the option. The state of Pennsylvania is not considering banning the activity, continuing to allow players to create a mock linkup of athletes and then compete against other DFS members during real life games of a given sport.
The debate in Pennsylvania is whether or not the games are based on skill. This argument would make the activity legal and not considered a form of gambling if ruled as a skill. Dunbar stated that there needs to be some oversight since the activity is something that so many people are involved in. After meeting with representatives of DraftKings and FanDuel, Dunbar stated that both groups are open to discussions with the state.
Dunbar is proposing that the daily fantasy operators pay a $5 million licensing fee to operate in the state and partner with casinos of Pennsylvania, which are regulated by the Gaming Control Board. Players would need to log on to the sites via the casino websites to be able to access the daily fantasy gaming options. Any profits of the company as well players’ winnings would be taxed by the state.
The representative wants to create a model that other states might be able to use in regards to DFS gaming. However, DraftKings and FanDuel seem to be a fan of a different legislation option such as what is being considered in Illinois. A bill pending in the state would classify games as one of skill and would ban individuals under the age of 18 from participating, as well as employees of the industry. Annual independent audits would take place to make sure that the operators are following the guidelines of the state.
Fantasy Sports Trade Association lobbyist Jeremy Kudon, commented on the comments by Dunbar, stating that the industry is not open to be regulated and taxed like a casino as they are not a casino. Kudon stated that it is ‘tantamount to a ban to say we need to partner with a casino to operate in a state.’ The daily fantasy sports industry feels the games are based on skill as the players have to know which athletes to choose as they will outperform the others. Dunbar agrees that the games are one of skill but also feels the activity is gambling.