Pennsylvania Online Gambling And Daily Fantasy Sports Hearing Live Blog October 19
The following article can be found in its original form at this link from the US Poker:
US Poker: Steve Ruddock, October 19, 2016
The hearing will be live streamed here.
The committee will discuss online gambling and daily fantasy sports.
Rep. John Payne is the Chairman of the GO Committee.
We’ve provided several links to get you caught up on the current situation in Pennsylvania.
- Local Tax Share Issue Further Muddies The Waters For Online Gambling Legislation In Pennsylvania
- The Outlook For PA Online Gambling Remains Hazy Heading Into Session’s Final Two Weeks
- Online Gambling Hearing Sets Stage For Legalization Push In Pennsylvania
- Can Pennsylvania Get Daily Fantasy Sports Regulation Done With Time Running Out In 2016?
9 a.m.: John Pappas first witness called
John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker players Alliance is the first person called. According to Pappas, the PPA has over one million members, and over 25,000 in Pennsylvania.
Pappas makes the case for legalization and regulation by highlighting the failed online poker sites, Lock Poker and Full Flush Poker, both of which closed, taking player balances with them. Lock Poker closed in 2015, and Full Flush Poker just several weeks ago.
Payne: “this is bigger than just another $100 million for Pennsylvania.” Consumer protection is an important component of this, especially with another online poker site going rogue with player funds.
Turns out Representative George Dunbar is a member of the Poker Players Alliance.
Dunbar asks Pappas how many online poker players there were in Pennsylvania; the answer, according to Pappas, 250,000-300,000. Obviously far fewer players now, but Dunbar’s questions seemed aimed at establishing market size.
Pappas and Dunbar are engaging in a back and forth about potential market size and why Pennsylvania would exceed New Jersey’s numbers.
Payne notes that SugarHouse Casino has launched an online gaming site in New Jersey. Pappas calls this “unfortunate outsourcing” but it could be a major benefit to SugarHouse and Pennsylvania if they can pass an online gambling bill and have New Jersey casinos launch online gaming sites in PA.
9:20 AM: Steve Brubaker talks DFS
Steve Brubaker is the next speaker. Brubaker represents small businesses in the fantasy sports industry. Brubaker informed me that he will be focusing on the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel and smaller operators, and why most of the bills that have passed in 2016 don’t create a good environment for smaller companies.
Brubaker is talking about FanDuel’s and DraftKings’ ability to deal with the regulatory burdens and licensing fees, whereas smaller operators are financially incapable of meeting these requirements. Brubaker would like to see states pass bills that recognize an operator’s size. It will be interesting to see how this resonates with the committee, as they feel the gaming bill is done, and the hearing is meant to explain the reasons why the Senate should act on the bill, not debate particular policy points.
If you were watching this hearing in a vacuum you’d think online gambling and DFS were slam dunks to pass. Unfortunately, the holdup is in the Senate, the House has already passed this bill and is more or less cheerleading it right now.
9:35 AM: Scott Ward representing FanDuel and DraftKings
As an aside: DFS seems to be the central focus of this hearing. One reason for this could be that online gambling is settled, and simply need to be voted on by the Senate, whereas DFS regulation seems to be open to debate.
Ward making the case for why the bill (HB 2150) needs to be passed now. Ward is piggybacking off of John Pappas’ testimony about consumer protections.
Representative George Dunbar doesn’t play DFS, he does play poker and season long.
Closing comments by Payne
Representative Payne making the case for immediate action. It’s another year without consumer protections, another year of talks in the legislature and hundreds of amendments, and another year without revenue for the state.
Payne: “this isn’t about the democrats vs. the republicans, this is about protecting consumers. It’s been a great team effort.”