n Monday, Dunbar met with lobbyists representing the widely popular fantasy websites that allow players to wager money on single-day fantasy sports. Dunbar says the industry believes their “skill-based” form of gaming shouldn’t require regulation. He disagrees, saying without regulation on a state level, daily fantasy sites could likely suffer the same fate as online poker, which is now illegal.
The original version of the bill aimed to give casinos the ability to host fantasy sports tournaments. With rising awareness and participation in the heavily advertised daily fantasy contests, Dunbar felt the bill needed to address them. He was also concerned about recent scandals, which allege insider cheating on the sites.
“That doesn’t mean get rid of Draft Kings and Fan Duel,” says Dunbar. “I want Draft Kings and Fan Duel in Pennsylvania. I want them operating in Pennsylvania.” Dunbar believes a partnership which would require the sites to operate in cooperation with Pennsylvania casinos would give the companies a more solid legal footing, restore consumer confidence, and pass some benefit onto taxpayers.
“The way the bill is drafted, there would be a five-million-dollar fee for the casinos to enter in, and a one-million-dollar fee for the vendors, which would be the Draft Kings, Fan Duel,” adds Dunbar. In addition, the state would collect 14% of the fantasy earnings, which would be earmarked for the state’s general fund.
Dunbar says the revenue from daily fantasy sports would be welcome, but alone would not be enough to end the current state budget impasse. The amended bill was still being drafted on Monday, with a hearing on the legislation tentatively scheduled for the middle of next week.