PA Fantasy Sports Keep On Chugging, But At A Slower Pace Than Sportsbooks

We knew FanDuel and DraftKings would lead the fantasy field in May, but the numbers do give us new insight into year-over-year performances.

FanDuel and DraftKings are living large and clearly in charge of Pennsylvania’s fantasy sports revenue.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released fantasy sports revenue for May 2019. These numbers show a net revenue of $1,803,056, which is an increase of 35% from May 2018.

Of note, in May, PGCB released the first full fiscal year of collected tax revenues for fantasy sports. May’s report marks the first opportunity to compare fantasy sports revenue from year-to-year.

FanDuel and DraftKings on top as usual

Again, no surprises here.

FanDuel and DraftKings are still the kings of PA fantasy sports. Combined, they account for $1,773,501 or 98% of the total revenue, taking the lion’s share of the market.

In third place, DRAFT netted $18,001, a downright paltry sum compared to the eye-popping numbers that FanDuel and DraftKings generate.

Of note, Yahoo Fantasy Sports’ revenue soared when comparing the year-on-year increase by 91% or $8,463 from $4,430.

FanDuel trending onward and upward

Quite possibly, FanDuel will continue to outearn DraftKings in fantasy sports revenues.

In April, PGCB reported for the first time that FanDuel surged ahead of DraftKings in entry fees for a single month. Tracked revenue showed gains of $961,867 versus $845,533. 

This month, the trend continues with FanDuel leading the way with $960,155 compared to DraftKings’ $813,346.

At any rate, it is possible that players are more comfortable with FanDuel’s brand name recognition. FanDuel’s partnership with the Valley Forge Casino Resort makes it the only daily fantasy sports operator in PA to partner with a casino.

In addition, FanDuel is the only operator ready to launch an online sportsbook in PA sometime this summer.

PA sports betting reigns supreme

In comparison, sports betting yields much more in tax revenue than daily fantasy sports.

For example, in May, the Keystone State collected $2.8 million in tax revenue alone from sports betting. Daily fantasy sports only yielded $270,458.

At least partially, the difference in revenue is attributed to the tax rate. Sports betting is taxed at 36% while daily fantasy sports are taxed at 15%.

However, sports betting revenues will only continue to rise with the impending launching of online sports betting apps.

Recently, PlaySugarHouse.com launched in Pennsylvania as the first online sports betting app. In just four days and with a limited release due to not being available in the Apple Store, it still generated $573,163.

Below, compare the year-to-year Pennsylvania fantasy contests revenue which is up 35% in May.

Fantasy Contest OperatorMay 2019May 2018% Change
Statewide Total$1,803,056$1,331,70635.39%
FanDuel$960,155$673,01442.66%
DraftKings$813,346$632,00928.69%
Yahoo Fantasy Sports$8,463$4,43091.01%
Draft$18,001$16,9925.94%
Fantasy Draft$1,176$2,500-52.95%
Sportshub Technologies$1,012$1,591-36.37%
Boom Fantasy$903$8516.04%
FastPick.com*$0$319--

*FastPick.com stopped providing fantasy contest in Pennsylvania in July 2018

FanDuel Catching Up On DraftKings In The PA Fantasy Sports Race

DraftKings and FanDuel continue to dominate fantasy sports in PA, but FanDuel is gaining ground and might unseat the top dog by year’s end.

It’s a two-horse race and it has been for some time.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) recently released the fantasy contest revenue numbers from March. As expected, DraftKings and FanDuel’s revenue accounted for more than 95 percent of the bottom line.

Of note is a considerable surge in FanDuel’s revenue report.

Breaking down the March PA DFS numbers

DraftKings’ reported revenue for March was $864,702.58. FanDuel was second at $736,340.40.

What’s interesting about these numbers is that FanDuel closed the gap considerably.

In February, the company was approximately $284,000 behind DraftKings. However, in March, the gap was around $128,000. FanDuel cut its competitors lead by more than half. Perhaps brand awareness tied to the launch of FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino helped boost the numbers?

Among the group considered “the rest”, there was significant movement month-on-month. For example, Boom Fantasy produced the lowest revenue in February at $2,151.45. The site, however, vaulted into third place in March because four other sites relied on fantasy football and experienced steep declines.

DRAFT‘s fantasy contests eclipsed $20,000 for the third month in a row this year. Their March revenue put them ahead of Yahoo Fantasy Sports.

2019 fantasy contest revenue peaked in January

Overall, the state’s fantasy contest sites/apps experienced a decline in monthly revenue compared to January. That month, the NFL playoffs were in full swing. Along with a full slate of NBA and NHL games, sites enjoyed solid revenue, notching more than $2.1 million.

By contrast, sites saw around a 23 percent decline in revenue from January to March. Much of that decline is due to certain sites’ reliance on fantasy football.

For example, Fantasy Football Players Championship did not report any income in March. However, in February, the company reported $47,744.12, which was around $23,000 more than DRAFT and around $38,000 more than Yahoo Fantasy Sports. This is likely because the company’s product is constructed around season-long fantasy leagues.

Another factor in the income decline was Fantasy Draft. The platform reported revenue of more than $4,000 in January and more than $5,800 in February. In March, though, the company operated at a loss of more than $700.

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Looking back to the PA fantasy contest launch

Fantasy contests launched in Pennsylvania in May 2018. At that time, 10 companies submitted revenue reports. FanDuel earned the most revenue that month, edging out DraftKings.

The only company on that original revenue report not present in any of the 2019 reports was Fastpick.

Revenue-wise, the 10 operators listed on the revenue report combined for $1.33 million. Now, nearly one year later, the revenue report is $1.63 million.

PA fantasy contests stalling?

The lack of growth isn’t troubling, per se, but does make one wonder why more DFS-style fantasy sites aren’t operating in Pennsylvania. Market saturation could be a factor, as could be the sheer dominance DraftKings and FanDuel exert on the market.

Furthermore, fantasy contests aren’t exactly a lucrative year-round proposition for some operators. For example, in January, two companies reported less than $5,000 in revenue.

In February, another two companies reported less than $5,o00 and in March, five companies did. One, Fantasy Draft, even reported losses of $727 last month.

For PA Fantasy Operators, Baseball Season Can’t Come Soon Enough

With only the Super Bowl on the schedule in February, PA fantasy sports numbers predictably decline with the end of football season.

Just like the average fan, Pennsylvania’s fantasy sports revenues seemed to be missing football in February.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released the February Fantasy Contests Revenue Report on Friday. That report revealed a total adjusted revenue decline of nearly $500,000 compared to January. Total revenue dipped from $2,116,499 to $1,629,178.

The drop in revenue can be traced in part to the end of football season. February featured just one football game — the Super Bowl — which limited daily fantasy platforms to single-game contests in the sport.

Overall, Pennsylvania will still receive $244,376.75 from the daily fantasy providers, which are assessed a 15 percent tax on their adjusted gross revenue. That money is then deposited into the Pennsylvania Commonwealth General Fund.

Here’s a look at the total revenue breakdown for February:

Fantasy operatorAdjusted monthly revenuePA tax due
DraftKings$906,451.16$135,967.67
FanDuel$622,815.68$93,422.35
Fantasy Football Players Championship$47,744.12$7,161.62
DRAFT$23,948.17$3,592.23
Yahoo Fantasy Sports$9,726.89$1,459.05
Sportshub Technologies$6,536.89$980.53
Fantasy Draft$5,818.57$872.79
Full Time Fantasy Sports$3,985.25$597.79
Boom Fantasy$2,151.45$322.72

DraftKings remains ahead of FanDuel

DraftKings once again led all of the fantasy providers, including its close competitor FanDuel. DraftKings had a total of $906,451.16 in adjusted revenue for its fantasy contests in February. FanDuel was second with $622,815.68. Pennsylvania’s remaining seven daily fantasy sports (DFS) outlets all generated total revenues of under $50,000.

According to Legal Sports Report, FanDuel was actually ahead of DraftKings when Pennsylvania DFS revenues were first reported in June 2018. More recently, DraftKings has been the leader. FanDuel is looking to close that gap and could receive a boost from its branding deal with FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened last week.

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Baseball’s return will enhance March revenues

Major League Baseball’s regular season starts on March 28. The first few days of the season and some showcase DFS contests should boost this month’s earnings. However, it’s hard to predict if those increased revenues will be enough to push March’s total past February.

How will PA sportsbooks affect DFS?

The other development to monitor is how the spread of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks will affect daily fantasy contests. Total daily fantasy revenue has dropped from more than $2.86 million in December to about $1.63 million in February. Many people believe sports betting and daily fantasy games can coexist. And the FanDuel-branded casino is uniquely suited to provide some opportunities for that.

PA budget continues to benefit from gaming

All in all, Pennsylvania’s state budget will continue to benefit from all forms of gaming. Based on their 2018 earnings, daily fantasy providers will pay nearly $2.3 million in state taxes. Furthermore, the expansion of sports betting — which should include mobile betting in July and at least nine sportsbooks by the start of football season — will provide a boon several times that number.

So, as the wagers and daily fantasy contests continue, the tax revenue will pour in too.

NFL Kickoff Sparks $2.1 Million September For PA Fantasy Sports

After a sub-$1 million month in August, the start of the NFL season helped PA fantasy sports operators post $2,133,714 in revenue in September.

The NFL season kicked off in September and regulated PA Fantasy Sports operators are certainly thankful it did.

After a sub-$1 million month in August, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) says approved fantasy sports operators posted $2,133,714 in revenue in September.

Pointing out the obvious, the Board says the start of the NFL season impacted revenue growth among the operators substantially.

Thanks to a 15 percent tax on the fantasy sports operators’ adjusted revenue, the state collected $320,057 in fantasy sports tax revenue for the month.

DraftKings leads the way

DraftKings lead all operators in September, taking in more revenue than all nine approved operators combined to post in August.

The leading daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator in the country, DraftKings posted $1,174,327.61 in PA fantasy sports revenue throughout the month.

Top DFS competitor FanDuel was not far behind, posting $948,838.89 in PA fantasy sports revenue in September. FanDuel’s monthly numbers were also slightly above the $943,620 in revenue all nine approved operators combined to post in August.

Fantasy sports in PA is really a two-horse race. However, New York-based DRAFT did manage to almost double its $10,000 a month revenue average, posting $19,659.38 in fantasy sports revenue to hold on to third place in the PA market.

The rest of the PA fantasy sports market

The rest of the approved PA fantasy operators posted the following September revenue numbers:

  • Boom Fantasy: $1,336.87 (+87.3)
  • Fantasy Draft: $1,088.58 (-71.7)
  • Sportshub Technologies: $270.49 (-36.5)
  • Full Time Fantasy Sports: $241.50 (n/a)
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship: $0.00 (n/a)
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports: -$12,049.35 (-987.08)

The regulated PA fantasy sports market launched in May 2018 with operators posting $1,331,706.34 in revenue. Operators also recorded more than $1 million in revenue in June 2018.

However, there was very little outside of baseball going on in the sports world throughout the months of July and August. As a result, PA fantasy sports operators posted $878,184.93 and $943,620.22 in revenue respectively.

September marked the first time fantasy sports revenues in the state have risen above the $2 million mark. However, there’s a good chance they’ll stay there through the end of the calendar year, with the NFL season continuing until Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019.

Plus, there’s potential for even more growth with the NHL and NBA seasons both underway.

PA sports betting on the way

However, there may be some heavy competition on the way.

This month, the Board approved sports betting licenses for both Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville and Parx Casino in Bensalem.

Both are planning to launch sportsbooks as soon as November. The availability of single-game wagering and popular NFL parlays could potentially draw some gamblers away from fantasy sports.

The Board is expected to hand out even more PA sports betting licenses at its next meeting on Oct. 31.

PA DFS Revenue Exceeds $4 Million In Four Months Without Football

The last month of regulated PA fantasy sports pushed total revenue for the year past $4 million, but expect that number to get much bigger in September.

Pennsylvania’s nine fantasy sports contest providers generated $943,620.22 in adjusted revenue in August.

DraftKings remains ahead of FanDuel

In numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Sept. 18, DraftKings was the state’s leading fantasy sports provider for the third-straight month over FanDuel. DraftKings accounted for $511,234.93 in revenue, with FanDuel attracting $490,038.78.

The industry’s two giants generated 98.2-percent of the state’s fantasy sports revenue in August. That number climbs even higher when you factor in DRAFT, the third most-profitable DFS site, which is owned by the FanDuel Group.

The state of Pennsylvania collects 15-percent from the adjusted revenue reported by the fantasy contest operators. In August, the total taxes due totaled $141,543.03.

$4 million in DFS revenue and counting

The PGCB began overseeing the daily fantasy sports marketplace on April 28. In the four months following the state’s interjection, DFS operators have earned nearly $4.2 million dollars, resulting in approximately $625,700 in taxes paid into the PA’s General Fund.

MonthAdusted RevenueTaxes Due
May 2018$1,331,706.34$199,755.94
June 2018$1,017,862.32$152,679.34
July 2018$878,184.93$131,727.75
August 2018$943,620.22$141,542.03

What’s next for PA fantasy sports?

More money! The start of football season will undoubtedly bring more interest and revenue to the world of fantasy sports. Since the state assumed oversight at the end of April, the only major sports that have been continuously played are baseball and golf. There was only one month of NBA and NHL action. The WNBA also started in May.

When October rolls around, players will have football, basketball, hockey, and playoff baseball at their disposal. September should bring a big spike with the start of football season. However, October will likely set the industry benchmark with all four major sports in action.

There should also be continued cross-over between DFS and gaming. DraftKings and FanDuel have already entered the sports betting industry in New Jersey and West Virginia, with plans for Pennsylvania on the horizon.

FanDuel Sportsbook operates a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and launched a New Jersey sports betting app at the beginning of September. DraftKings was the first to launch a sports betting app in New Jersey.

Last week, FanDuel announced that it will look to create an online and mobile sports betting operation in conjunction with Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia. With the separation of DFS and sports gaming becoming a little murkier, that may open up the doors for more wagering opportunities and cross-over between the two worlds. For example, Monmouth Park offered a grand slam bet in June that combined Major League Baseball games with horse racing results.

The PA DFS Market Features Two Top Dogs And Eight Also Rans

Two months into regulated fantasy sports in Pennsylvania, it’s a two-horse race, with DraftKings and FanDuel generating over $1 million in monthly revenues.

Now two months into regulated fantasy sports in Pennsylvania, the local market is proving to be a two-horse race. And in this race, the country’s leading daily fantasy sports operators have been trading spots at the top.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released its second monthly Fantasy Sports Contests revenue report this week. The report shows fees collected from Pennsylvania fantasy sports players, adjusted revenue for operators, and the tax revenue the state will ultimately collect from them.

Over $1 million in monthly fantasy sports revenue

According to the report, the ten approved fantasy sports operators in the state generated $1,017,862.32 in revenue in June. Thanks to a 15 percent tax charged on adjusted revenue reported by the operators, the state expects to collect $152,679.34 in taxes for the month.

Fantasy sports operators reported $1,331,706.34 in revenue in May. The state claimed $199,755.94 of that in taxes. As a result, regulated fantasy sports has generated $352,435.28 in tax revenue since it launched.

Most of the tax revenue continues to be generated by the country’s top two daily fantasy sports operators: FanDuel and DraftKings.

FanDuel and DraftKings trade top spot

New York-based FanDuel led PA fantasy sports operators in May, generating $673,013.94 in revenue. Boston-based DraftKings was a close second, posting $632,008.62 in revenue.

However, DraftKings took over the top spot in June, generating $511,234.93 in revenue. This time around, it was FanDuel coming a close second to its rival operator with $490,038.78 in revenue.

The eight other approved fantasy sports operators in PA combined to generate less than $17,000 in revenue in June. In fact, two reported no revenue and one operated at a loss. Here is a look at the other DFS operators:

  • DRAFT ($10,192.32)
  • Fantasy Draft ($4,392.37)
  • Sportshub Technologies ($1,570.69)
  • Boom Fantasy ($639.93)
  • Fastpick ($62.48)
  • Full Time Fantasy Sports (No revenue)
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship (No revenue)
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports (-$269.18)

Each posted similar numbers in May, proving that, so far, the PA fantasy sports market appears to be an oligopoly, with FanDuel and DraftKings the only two entities generating tangible revenues.

Fantasy sports are essentially a form of sports betting. Players compete against each other in contests where each player drafts a team of pro athletes and earns various points based on the real-life statistical performance of those athletes.

Fantasy sports in PA

Pennsylvania residents may have been playing in fantasy sports contests on sites like DraftKings and FanDuel for the past few years. However, the state did not legalize the contests until it passed comprehensive gambling expansion legislation in October 2017.

The first regulated fantasy sports contests in PA ran at the beginning of May, marking the launch of the first new form of gambling made legal under the legislation.

FanDuel and DraftKings have dominated the US daily fantasy sports market since they launched in 2009 and 2012 respectively. In 2016, the two companies planned a merger. However, it was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission in 2017, because it would have left a single entity controlling a 90 percent market share.

Photo by Cheryl Ann Quigley / Shutterstock.com

DFS Operators Up And Running In New Regulated Market

The first daily fantasy sports contests with state government oversight went off in Pennsylvania last weekend on popular sites including Fanduel and DraftKings.

The first daily fantasy sports contests with state government oversight went off in Pennsylvania last weekend.

Pennsylvanians may have been playing daily fantasy sports contests in gray market for the past few years. However, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) sent out a press release this week announcing government oversight of the contests began over the weekend.

Pennsylvania lawmakers made the games legal as a part of a major gaming expansion legislation package passed in October 2017. According to the board, the daily fantasy sports contests marked the first official roll-out of new forms of gaming made legal under the legislation.

Online casino, online poker, and online lottery sales were also made legal in the gaming expansion. The Pennsylvania Lottery plans to launch online lottery sales this month. However, with the regulatory and licensing process still ongoing, the state’s first online casino and online poker sites are not likely to launch until the fourth quarter of the year.

Legal fantasy sports launches

Fantasy sports contests involve participants competing against one another by drafting a team of pro athletes. Participants earn points based on the statistical performance of the actual players in real-life sporting events. Daily fantasy sports take place over a finite period of time. However, traditional fantasy sports are often conducted over an entire season. Contests are run like tournaments. The top point-earning teams winning the largest pieces of a prize pool made up of entry fees after the operator takes a cut.

Under the new gaming expansion laws, Pennsylvanians 18 years of age or older can now legally participate in fantasy sports contests. However, they can only do so with approved operators.

Gaming board executive director Kevin O’Toole said the following operators have been approved:

  • Fanduel
  • DraftKings
  • DRAFT
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • Boom Fantasy
  • Fastpick
  • Sportshub

Fantasy sports: Now regulated and taxed

O’Toole said fantasy sports operators are paying taxes in PA. Plus, local players are enjoying the benefits that government oversight of the games can provide:

“This roll-out also marks the beginning for Pennsylvania to create new revenue through the taxation of entry fees from players registered in Pennsylvania to participate in fantasy sports contests. Pennsylvania residents that enter Fantasy Sports Contests can know that they are participating in a fair playing environment and assured that each licensed operator meets standards set out in the law and regulated by the Gaming Control Board.”

The tax on fantasy sports operators’ adjusted revenue is 15 percent. The state began charging it on Saturday, April 28. All taxes collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue from fantasy sports operators will go into the state’s General Fund.

O’Toole said local players who may have played fantasy sports contests in the past probably didn’t notice any change:

“Pennsylvanians who already participate in fantasy sports contests with any of these firms will see no difference in game play nor need to re-register. The Gaming Control Board urges, however, that players review the eligibility guidelines on the web sites of these fantasy sports contest operators prior to attempting to participate in play.”

More information regarding fantasy sports regulation in PA is available on the board’s website.

In addition to fantasy sports regulation in PA, the board oversees all aspects of the state’s casino industry.

There are 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos in PA, along with the two smaller resort casinos. According to the board, these operations generate approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenue annually. The majority of the money goes to property tax reduction for PA homeowners.

Online Gambling, Fantasy Sports In House Gaming Committee’s Plans

The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee is planning a public hearing to review states that have legalized online gambling and daily fantasy sports.

The wait is over.

More than two months after the Pennsylvania House passed a bill legalizing online gambling and daily fantasy sports, the House Gaming Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday for a public hearing reviewing states that have already legalized online gambling and DFS.

That list includes New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware for online gambling. For DFS, those states are:

  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Virginia
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • Mississippi
  • Colorado
  • Missouri

Common sense says the Senate should be holding a hearing on online gambling as well, but its lack of action has online gambling proponents and the House antsy over the bill’s future.

The Senate has introduced a new DFS-only bill, but its chances to move independent of other gambling expansions is murky.

House to Senate: It’s time

Tuesday’s public hearing is, in one sense, might be just for show. The gaming committee and the House already approved the bill, so this isn’t about convincing anyone in its own ranks. Experts are of the opinion that the meeting is about getting the Senate to pass a bill allowing PA online casinos and DFS.

Here’s the big picture:

  • The Senate has not yet voted on any bill containing online gambling or DFS
  • The Senate’s fall session is nine days long.
  • If the bill isn’t passed during those nine days, it’s pushed back again; this time to 2017.

There’s a sense that the committee is passively telling the Senate, “It would be nice if you passed this bill since so many other states have already done it in the past three years.”

Bill is Payne’s last shot before retirement

Rep. John Payne, head of the Gaming Oversight Committee, has long been a vocal supporter of expanding the state’s gambling laws. However, Payne is retiring after the state’s November elections; a win like this before his final day in the House would be a sweet victory for the Dauphin County Republican.

After the June vote, Payne released a statement lauding the House’s bipartisan vote in support of online gambling regulation:

“Right now, Pennsylvanians who are playing these games online are at risk for fraud and abuse, and it’s nearly impossible to prevent children from gambling online or to protect problem gamblers. This legislation is needed to safeguard our children, our problem gamblers and our gaming consumers. Without it, we are only allowing the ‘wild west’ atmosphere that currently exists to continue.”

Expanded gambling will boost state budget

While pro-gambling folks in Pennsylvania would love to see the state finally pass the bill, the state’s budget would be equally as happy; it includes $100 million in gambling revenue.

That $100 million is possible revenue generated by online gambling in the state in year one, mostly from licensing fees. In 2015, Payne co-authored an opinion piece on PennLive.com, in which he estimated that online gambling revenues could top $300 million in a mature market.

Casinos might want to see it, as well; August was one of the state’s first bad months, revenue-wise, in quite awhile.

Daily Fantasy Sports Remains On Pennsylvania Legislature’s Radar

Pennsylvania is moving slowly on daily fantasy sports regulation, but the issue appears set to be considered seriously this spring.

While most states are plowing ahead with bills that would regulate the daily fantasy sports industry, Pennsylvania has been taking a more measured approach. But that doesn’t mean the state is ignoring the burgeoning industry.

What’s going on with DFS in PA?

At one point, it looked like Pennsylvania would actually move faster than most states on DFS regulation. But chatter about a planned bill that would treat DFS much like land-based casinos and online gambling never turned into actual legislation.

Since a hearing in November, no new legislation has surfaced other than a bill that plans to study DFS as a “gambling product.” That bill was signed by the governor, and it requires the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to put together a report. The results of that report will be available May 25 in a House Gaming Oversight Committee meeting.

Depending on the what is contained in that report, we may see DFS regulation come up this spring in the legislature.

In a related matter, the House also moved forward a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the federal ban on sports betting.

What might DFS regulation look like in PA?

While a lot of states are considering regulation that is relatively “light” in nature, Pennsylvania would seem to be a safe bet to take a stricter regulatory approach. Why?

  • Treating DFS like gambling has been the backdrop of all discussions in the state so far.
  • New York and New Jersey have floated bills that handle the industry much like gaming operators.

What legislation ends up looking like is a variable, but it seems a safe bet that PA might take its cues from its neighbors.

Will DraftKings and FanDuel be in PA?

This is potentially a big question in PA. If Pennsylvania calls DFS gambling, major DFS operators DraftKings and FanDuel, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, have indicated they would oppose such a bill in New Jersey.

However, Pennsylvania is a big market, and it’s unclear whether they would give it up just because of a “skill or chance” language debate, should a “gambling”-style bill becomes law. Saying DFS is “gambling” in one state, however, can bring up problems in another.

The bigger question might lie in the licensure fees and the taxation schemes set forth in PA. DraftKings and FanDuel appear to be willing to pay any somewhat reasonable amount, even if that means smaller operators get shut out.

Roman Vukolov / Shutterstock.com

PA Committee Passes Resolution Urging Congress to Repeal Sports Betting Ban

The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee passed a resolution that calls on Congress to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee passed a resolution (HR 619) on Tuesday that calls on Congress to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The resolution was introduced by Representative Robert F. Matzie

PASPA is a federal law that prohibits states from legalizing sports betting, with the exception of Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware.

The repeal of PASPA would, according to a press statement distributed on Monday, “allow Pennsylvania – and all states that authorize, license and regulate casino gaming — to legalize sports betting through its licensed facilities.”

What happened with the PA sports betting resolution

In the press announcement, Gaming Oversight chairman John Payne announced the committee would hold the vote on Tuesday morning. The resolution passed the Gaming Oversight Committee, and is now listed as “reported as committed.”

Largely a symbolic vote, the resolution is unlikely to spur Congress to act on PASPA. However, if more states follow suit, and/or if New Jersey manages to triumph in its sports betting case, Congress’ hand may be forced on this increasingly talked about issue, particularly with the somewhat connected DFS debates that are raging across the country.

For instance, last year Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) called on Congress to hold hearings on daily fantasy sports, which many believe stem from Pallone’s support for the repeal/gutting of PASPA. A repeal would allow his state to offer legalized sports betting at its casinos and racetracks.

In a statement on his website Pallone connected the dots from DFS to sports betting and the need for consistency and clarity:

“The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prohibits sports betting nationally, except in states in states that legalized sports betting prior to passage of PASPA.  Online sports betting and online gambling are also prohibited under Federal law.  However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) specifically exempts fantasy sports games that meet certain criteria thanks to a loophole that has become known as the fantasy sports “carve out.”  This loophole has blurred the lines between betting conducted through fantasy sports sites and online gambling.”

What resolutions are meant to do

Similar resolutions are passed all the time, in statehouses across the country, on any number of issues. They are largely designed to be symbolic, to bring attention to a particular issue, to commission a study, or in some cases let federal representatives and senators know that the people back home are watching their votes; state level resolutions are more or less official opinions.

For instance, last March, Payne introduced HR 140, a resolution urging Congress to defeat any bill that would ban online gambling. In 2014 it was Representative Mike Sturla who introduced a resolution, HR 1095, that called on Congress to “defeat S. 2159 and H.R. 4301, which prohibit states from authorizing and conducting Internet gaming.”

In October of 2014, the New Jersey Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Assembly Committee passed a similar anti-Restoration of America’s Wire Act resolution which like Pennsylvania’s resolution, urged Congress to oppose the two RAWA bills: SB 2159 and HR 4301.