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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2017 02:47 PM
From: Representative George Dunbar
To: All House members
Subject: Fantasy Sports
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to require fantasy sports contest providers to be licensed and regulated by the PA Gaming Control Board. Additionally, the bill will impose a new tax on fantasy contest gross revenue and require providers to implement needed consumer protections.

Currently, the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 provides an exemption for fantasy sports contests that aren’t based on the outcome of a single game or the performance of any one team or player. This federal exemption coupled with the argument that fantasy sports games are skill-based games has led to the creation of an unregulated industry that an estimated 50 million Americans are participating in. Given this dramatic increase in popularity coupled with a recent advertising campaign promising large cash rewards to winning players, questions have been raised regarding the legal status of fantasy sports under federal and state gambling laws. In fact, Massachusetts, Nevada and New York recently have taken the position that fantasy sports are a form of gambling and are attempting regulate the industry to varying degrees.

Currently, the Commonwealth has no law on the books regarding fantasy sports. Given that many popular fantasy sports contests involve the daily payment of league fees and substantial cash rewards to winning players, I believe it is time for the state to provide fantasy sports contest participants with the same consumer protections currently given to our casino patrons. To this end, I will be introducing the Fantasy Sports Consumer Protection Act, which will empower the PA Gaming Control Board to regulate the industry and impose needed consumer protections, such as:
  • Prohibit the play of fantasy contests by minors;
  • Require confidentiality of a player’s personal and financial information;
  • Ensure employees do not participate in fantasy contests;
  • Enforce a participant’s self-exclusion from fantasy contests; and
  • Require providers and their employees to be adequately trained to refer compulsive and problem fantasy contest participants to the appropriate treatment referral services.
If the Commonwealth continues to do nothing regarding this subject, the industry will either continue to operate unregulated throughout the state or a future court decision could rule that fantasy sports contests are illegal gambling. Neither of these options would be the best course of action for many our constituents who responsibly participate in fantasy contests. For this reason, I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this needed legislation.

Introduced as HB865