New Gambling Bills to Regulate Sports Betting and DFS in Pennsylvania

Published January 26, 2017 by Ivan P

New Gambling Bills to Regulate Sports Betting and DFS in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is on the verge of regulating online gambling, with two separate bills in the pipeline.

The question of regulating online gambling in Pennsylvania has been one of the hot topics over the past couple of years. The state has already allocated the $100 million they expect to receive from the regulated market, so lawmakers are now hard pressed to come up with a solution that would be amenable to everyone.

New Sports Betting Bill in the House of Representatives

Robert F. Matzie, a House Representative in the Keystone State, has announced his intention to present a new bill proposal, aimed to regulate sports betting within the state borders.
Last year, Pennsylvania was on the verge of passing the bill that would regulate different online gambling options, including sports betting, and even allow for opening land-based gambling establishments across the state. However, that proposal didn't make the cut in the Senate, after successfully passing the House.

Regulating Daily Fantasy Sports

Since Matzie's bill seems to tackle only the issue of sports betting, there is another bill that the House will need to consider shortly. The bill, championed by the Senate minority leader Jay Costa, aims to regulate increasingly popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).

Costa's bill is much wider in scope, though, as it also aims to regulate other online gambling activities, including slots, blackjack, online poker, and more. If passed, the legislation should enable Pennsylvania to get its hands on the expected $100 million budget injection.

Heavy Taxes

While many support regulation of online gambling in the state and across the US, Costa's proposal does come with some caveats. DFS sites, like DraftKings and FanDuel, would have to pay a $2.5 licensing fee to operate in Pennsylvania and deal with a 25% tax.

While this is consistent with taxes imposed on brick and mortar gambling venues, DFS operators firmly believe that fantasy sports can't be put in the same basket as traditional gambling, and are, instead, skill-based activities.

Overall, the bills might require some fine-tuning, but Pennsylvania is very likely to have regulated online gambling in the near future.

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