Legislature must correct mistake that hurts fantasy sports companies
The following article can be found in its original form at this link from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Tim Jensen, April 14, 2017
In his column "A rich fantasy life" (April 9), Kevin Horrigan gets a lot wrong about fantasy sports.
Let’s start with his dismissal of companies like mine — local fantasy sports small businesses. He paints a reasonable tax rate the Legislature is considering as a perk for big companies, claiming “small businesses” are being used as a red herring. But the small businesses in this industry are very real — and our Missouri employees would very much disagree with his contention that they don’t exist or matter.
The problem is last year, while the Legislature was taking a smart approach to consumer protections and regulations in this industry, they imposed exorbitant taxes and fees. The effective additional tax rate for a company like mine is now 21.5 percent, giving Missouri the highest tax rate for the industry in the country, higher than even New York. Remember, we already pay state taxes and federal taxes like any other business.
Horrigan also underestimates the 1 million Missourians who play fantasy sports, likening it to casino gambling. Fantasy players are not getting duped into playing a rigged game where the house always wins. There is no house — players play against each other, real people vs. real people. Contest providers like me simply provide the playing field: we don’t win when players lose.
We’ve invested a lot in building a real company, and so have other entrepreneurs throughout this industry. But we need the Legislature to correct last year’s mistake so we can grow, create Missouri jobs and serve the many people who enjoy our product.
Tim Jensen • St. Peters
Co-founder, RealTime Fantasy Sports