Fantasy Sports Licenses Become Mandatory in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is now officially in charge of daily fantasy sports. On Tuesday, the PGCB announced it has assumed oversight over daily fantasy sports operators and is reviewing applications from six providers. Daily fantasy was never outlawed or prohibited in Pennsylvania, but operators must now go through a formal licensing process to continue offering their services to PA residents.

Six operators are named in the press release as having submitted DFS applications to the PGCB:

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • DRAFT
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • Boom Fantasy
  • Fast Pick

The PGCB also pointed out that it began applying a 15% tax on April 28th as a part of new gaming laws signed into law in October. The legislation passed last year covers a wide swath of online gaming activities beyond just daily fantasy sports. Other forms of gaming addressed in the legislation include online casino gaming, poker, lottery and even sports betting if federal law changes.

The legislation calls for all licensees to pay a $50,000 fee in addition to the revenues tax. Local media reports there is no way to tell how much money these sites are raising for Pennsylvania under the new tax system until the first payments come in next month, but one thing we do know is if all six sites continue with the licensing process, they’ll pay in a combined $300,000 in licensing fees.

Changes for Players

As far as gameplay is concerned, no major changes are expected if you play at one of the six sites seeking licenses. Assuming the licensing process goes according to plan, those six sites will continue operating as normal throughout the licensing process and beyond.

PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole said in a statement that players “who already participate in fantasy sports contests with any of these firms will see no difference in game play nor need to re-register.”

Pennsylvania’s DFS legislation resembles legislation already passed in other states, so established providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings will not have to make any changes to keep doing what they’re doing. Here’s what the Pennsylvania bill includes as far as regulations go:

  • Licensing fee of $50,000
  • Renewal fee of $10,000
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Must provide some contests that exclude highly experienced players
  • Beginners are defined as customers who have not already entered 20 fantasy contests
  • Allow players to voluntarily self-exclude themselves from participating
  • Allow players to place limits on the amount they are allowed to deposit over specific periods of time
  • Sites must conspicuously post problem gambling notices on their websites
  • Prohibit employees and family members of employees living in the same household as an employee from participating in paid contests
  • Prevent the sharing of confidential information that could be used to gain an advantage until that information is made publicly available to everyone
  • Segregate players’ funds from sites’ operational funds
  • College and high school athletic events may not be the subject of fantasy contests

O’Toole also said this about the new regulations:

“Pennsylvania residents that enter fantasy sports contests can know that they are participating in a fair playing environment and assured that that each licensed operator meets standards set out in the law and regulated by the Gaming Control Board.”