Pennsylvania Legislature has passed online casino, poker and dfs

Number Of DFS Operators In PA Jumps From 6 To 10

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Pennsylvania’s legal and regulated daily fantasy sports market is growing already, just a few weeks after it launched.

In fact, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) this week it has received applications from four additional fantasy sports contest operators. That’s in addition to the six previously received and approved.

The first daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests taxed and regulated by the state kicked off on the last weekend of April.

State lawmakers made fantasy sports legal as a part of a comprehensive gambling expansion legislation package passed in October 2017. They approved a 15 percent tax on fantasy sports operators’ adjusted revenue and tasked the PGCB with providing oversight on fantasy sports contests.

It all came into effect on April 28, marking the first roll-out of any new form of gambling made legal under the new gambling expansion legislation.

Regulating and taxing daily fantasy sports

Many Pennsylvania residents have been playing DFS for the past few years. However, they did so in what was a gray market. Now, it’s all legal and above board for players in Pennsylvania 18 years of age or older who participate in fantasy sports contests on approved operators.

Operators previously approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board are:

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

The four new fantasy sports operators approved by the board this week include:

  • Sportshub National Fantasy Championships
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports
  • Fantasy Draft
  • Scout Fantasy Sports

The board says it is legal to participate in fantasy sports contests with any of the 10 firms listed above. As long as players are submitting an entry fee for a contest and initiating play from within Pennsylvania. However, if you are playing while inside Pennsylvania state lines, the board says it is not legal to participate in fantasy sports contests with any other firm.

Fantasy sports contests allow players to compete against one another by drafting a fantasy team of athletes under a limited budget. The teams earn points based on the stats put together by drafted players in real-life sporting events. Daily fantasy sports contests take place over a single day’s games or a limited period of time. However, traditional fantasy sports contests play out over an entire season.

Both contests are run like tournaments, with a prize pool created through entry fees and ultimately split between the top point-earning teams after operator fees are removed.

New tax revenues and a fair playing environment

PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole says the new taxes on fantasy sports entry fees are already creating new revenue for the state. Plus, O’Toole says the government oversight provided gives players the opportunity to participate in a fair playing environment. One with licensed operators meeting standards set out in the law and regulated by the board.

Several other new online gambling initiatives were also approved back in October 2017, including:

  • Slots
  • Table games
  • Poker
  • Lottery sales

The Pennsylvania Lottery previously announced plans to launch online lottery sales in May 2018.

The regulatory and licensing process still ongoing for online slots, online table games, and online poker. The state’s first online casinos and online poker sites are expected to launch sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early 2019.

Marty Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.