While we aren’t huge fans of lawmakers proposing to once again lean heavily on inconsistent gambling revenue, the potential of taxing daily fantasy sports sites seems like a reasonable and legitimate proposition.
In the wake of the state offering a spending plan that once again call for tens of millions of dollars in state gambling revenue based off the possible expansion of online gambling, lawmakers are also considering taxing for-profit online gaming which is raging across the internet. Taxing groups like FanDuel and DraftKings — companies that offer prizes as high as $1 million — makes sense. It seems like a simple tax on a business.
New York began taxing the daily fantasy sports industry last summer and pulled in nearly $3 million in tax revenue in the first five months of the program. The revenue filters into the state’s lottery fund and eventually into the coffers to fund education. New Jersey expects to make about $2 million in its first year.
Argue all you want about the justification of funding education programs with gambling revenue. The fact of the matter is even the companies overseeing these outlets would rather pay the tax than see the operation banned permanently in Pennsylvania. The reason is simple: Estimates are that 50 million people participate in fantasy sports in the United States and Canada, a group that includes 14 million who play for cash. A gaming expansion bill that passed the state House but died in the Senate last fall would have charged a $50,000 license fee for large fantasy sports operators. Similar legislation was pitched this week in Harrisburg.
“We’re missing out on millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions” in potential tax revenue, said state State Rep. Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer County. Nesbit doesn’t believe that taxing fantasy sports will increase gambling, just allow the state to get a cut of the revenue.
To some it seems another money grab out of Harrisburg. To us it feels like a legitimate sales tax.
It’s a user-based tax built off a for-profit enterprise. That’s fair game when it when it comes to taxation.
If you don’t want to pay the tax, simply don’t play for cash. There are plenty of free fantasy football or baseball outlets where bragging rights are earned, not money.