State Rep Wants Fantasy Sports Sites to Partner With Casinos

“You’re not going to get that large without… government trying to get involved in the process as well and making sure everyone is taken care of.”

A state representative wants Pennsylvanians to be able to play daily fantasy sports. But he wants the state to get its cut, too.

Rep. George Dunbar, a Republican from Westmoreland County, has submitted an amended version of H.B. 1197, a bill that would change the state’s gambling law to allow and regular fantasy sports tournaments.

The bill was first submitted in May, but was aimed at allowing casinos to host daily fantasy sports tournaments. It originally left daily fantasy sites alone. Dunbar told ABC 27 in Harrisburg his new bill would require outside vendors, like DraftKings and FanDuel, “partner” with currently licensed casinos in the state. Per Fox 43, Dunbar’s bill would ban daily fantasy sports unless specifically licensed by one of the state’s 12 casinos.

Daily fantasy is legal in most states because of the “fantasy sports” provision in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 that shut down online poker, but carved out an exemption for fantasy sports — then, just season-long leagues played between friends.

Site operators used what many call a loophole in the law to create the game of daily fantasy. It already operates on unclear legal ground, and states are beginning to take notice. Nevada recently shut down daily fantasy sites, which it ruled is gambling; DraftKings and FanDuel are no longer operating in the state. Steve Silver, an associate in the Philadelphia office of McBreen & Kopko, wrote for BizPhilly yesterday Pennsylvania should regulate daily fantasy.

Dunbar’s bill does just that. He told ABC 27 casinos would have to pay a $5 million fee to run daily fantasy tournaments, while operators like FanDuel and DraftKings would pay a $1 million fee (and, per Dunbar’s other statements, partner with the established casinos). The state would collect a 14 percent tax on earnings, which would be distributed to the state’s general fund. Dunbar says his bill would provide oversight in Pennsylvania to the currently-unregulated industry.

“You’re not going to get that large and that big without government trying to get involved in the process as well and making sure everyone is taken care of,” Dunbar told Fox 49 in a remarkably honest quote.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, called for hearings on daily fantasy sports after seeing the explosion of ads on TV at the start of football season. Pennsylvania State Rep. Nick Kotik has bills that would legalize airport slots and sports gambling in the state.

Today’s house hearing on fantasy sports was canceled; a hearing on daily fantasy and fantasy sports is scheduled for November 7th in the House. There is a hearing Monday morning for Kotik’s airport slots bill.