Pennsylvania bill seeks 14% tax on daily fantasy sports; CSIG goes after Payne

pennsylvania-payne-coalition-stop-internet-gambling-adUPDATE: Wednesday’s scheduled House Gaming Oversight Committee meeting has reportedly been cancelled.

A Pennsylvania state legislator has fleshed out his plans to explicitly authorize – and tax – daily fantasy sports activity in the state.

Republican Rep. George Dunbar announced last week that he would refile DFS legislation he’d proposed earlier this year with some modifications. The original bill would have authorized live DFS activity at the state’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos, while the revised bill would require existing DFS operators to partner with a state casino.

Local ABC News affiliate ABC27 quoted Dunbar saying he’d met on Monday with DFS lobbyists, who apparently argued that DFS didn’t require regulation. Dunbar disagreed, arguing that unregulated DFS sites face the same type of crackdown that befell online poker and he wants to give DFS a more solid legal footing.

While still a work in progress, Dunbar’s legislation would require each casino wishing to offer DFS to pay a $5m operator fee, while each DFS site would pay a $1m vendor fee. The state would also take a 14% cut of DFS revenue, which is far less than the proposed 54% tax on real-money online gambling in state Sen. Kim Ward’s SB 900 legislation, but is far more than the 0% DFS sites currently pay. Dunbar said his bill could have a hearing with the House Gaming Oversight Committee as early as next week.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s reconstituted House Gaming Oversight Committee is expected to vote on Ward’s SB 900 at its meeting on Wednesday (21). Committee chairman Rep. John Payne has introduced his own online gambling bill and a number of the new committee members are said to be at least neutral on the state going online, so things are looking up after a long period of stasis.

As if one cue, the Sheldon Adelson-supported Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) has launched a new anti-online television advertising campaign in Pennsylvania. Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands owns the state’s market-leading Sands Bethlehem casino, is stridently opposed to online gambling and has already supported CSIG in funding highly biased push-polls to convince Pennsylvanians that online gambling will eat their children.

The CSIG’s new TV spot (viewable below) personally targets Payne as someone “working hard to legalize predatory online gambling.” The spot hits the usual ‘think of the children’ nonsense but throws in fears that senior citizens are apparently too gullible to recognize that not every single spin of a slot machine produces a seven-figure jackpot.

Disclosure forms filed with the Federal Communication Commission show that CSIG has bought over $176k worth of time on Pennsylvania TV channels to air the ad. About $42k is being spent on local CBS affiliate WHP, with the ads scheduled to run in a week-long blitz on local and national evening news telecasts, 60 Minutes, Ellen, Jeopardy, NCIS, Blue Bloods and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Say it ain’t so, Stephen…