Daily Fantasy Sports Contests Officially Legal in Pennsylvania, Eight Operators Enter Licensed Market

Posted on: May 3, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2018, 03:52h.

Daily fantasy sports contests are legal in Pennsylvania. In fact, they have been since last Saturday, according to announcement this week by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

Daily fantasy sports legal in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania passed laws to legalize DFS last year, along with online gaming. The licensed DFS market opened for business on Saturday, while the first online gaming operators are expected to launch before the end of the year. (Image: Sports Illustrated)

The board said that Pennsylvanians who already participated in DFS with a company that has received a license will notice no difference in gameplay and will not need to reregister. While the contests were not officially legal until Saturday, operators continued to serve the market before and after the enactment of the state’s DFS legislation with the tolerance of authorities. Now, of course, any operator serving the Pennsylvania market without a PGCB license will be breaking the law.

Eight operators are currently sporting shiny, new licenses. They are: DraftKings, FanDuel Fantasy Draft, Boom Fantasy, DRAFT, FastPick, and SporstHub.

Conspicuous by its absence from the list was Yahoo DFS, although the operator told Legal Sports Report on Wednesday it had applied. LRS also noted the absence of fantasy kiosk operator EagleStrike, which previously operated in the state.

Online Gaming Next

Each operator forked out $50,000 for a five-year license and will pay a 15 percent tax on gross revenue. Proceeds will go to the state’s general fund.

“This roll-out also marks the beginning for Pennsylvania to create new revenue through the taxation of entry fees from players registered in Pennsylvania to participate in fantasy sports contests,” said PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole in a press release.

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

Pennsylvania’s DFS regulation was tied to a wider gambling reform package passed last year that also, among other things, legalized online gambling. The license application process for prospective online gambling operators began in April and O’Toole said recently the state is on schedule to launch the market before the end of the year.

Bill Moves in Louisiana

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a DFS bill that was approved in the House in mid-April was cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and will now head to the Senate floor for a full vote. If approved, it will head to the governor’s desk.

The bill would ask residents of each parish in the state to vote to legalize DFS in regional public referendums. Operators would be responsible for monitoring whether participants were playing from within an approved parish.

The bill has not yet set a tax rate for operators, although most other forms of legal gambling in the state, as in Pennsylvania, are taxed highly.