FSTA REACTION TO TODAY’S NEWS FROM NEW JERSEY
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Posted by: Meg Van Petten
Dear FSTA member,
Earlier today, the State of New Jersey authorized its casinos to offer on-site fantasy sports tournaments, modeled after the daily gaming products currently available online. (See the full text of the press release below.)I spoke with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to learn more.I’m happy to say that some of my initial concerns have been ameliorated and I’ve drawn the conclusion that this will likely spur growth for our industry.Here are the salient points:The AG’s office recognizes that fantasy isn’t gambling. It accepts the language in UIGEA. It also acknowledges that the casinos don’t really need its approval, since it’s legal. Really, the casinos could offer daily gaming online right now, without the AG’s blessing. If Joe Blow can start one in his garage legally, clearly, the casinos can, too. This announcement simply formalizes things.A very important point: In-casino fantasy games willnotbe subject to any state tax or regulation, as sports wagering is. Why? Because it’s not gambling. Revenue earned by the casino from these games is not intermingled with regular sports betting wagers, which will help insure that they aren’t taxed like sports betting.The state does not intend to interfere with the way fantasy sports operators are doing business. Fantasy companies that want to offer aproduct through a NJ casino are not treated as a gambling operator. They are required to sign up as a casino vendor, not different from, say, the casino’s food vendor.The AG’s office told me that NJ casinos will likely be working with leading providers of fantasy games (he mentioned several, each of which are FSTA members) to power the in-casino fantasy offerings. In a nutshell, the AG’s office loves fantasy football and sees this as an opportunity to spice up the sports books for the NJ casinos. The issue has been vetted all the way to the very top of the state, presumably through Governor Christie.Where could this lead?It’s easy to imagine other states following suit and allowing their casinos to take part in daily fantasy tournaments.The size and scope of daily gaming would continue to grow and the services our companies provide will grow accordingly.If successful with the in-casino offerings, casinos may move to allow play on their websites and/or via mobile. Imagine what would happen if the massive gaming conglomerations behind Caesars or Harrah’s decided to get into the daily gaming space.Some states may choose to offer fantasy play in its casinos, but with the stipulation that it is regulated and taxed. In that scenario, the FSTA may take the position to oppose the offering.If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me directly or you can contact the board at email@example.com.
The text of New Jersey’s press release on this subject is here:=============================
Jeffrey S. Chiesa,
Attorney General Division of Gaming Enforcement,
David Rebuck, Director
For Immediate Release: March 18, 2013
Division of Gaming Enforcement Announces Temporary Adoption of Regulations forFantasy Sports Tournaments in Atlantic City Casinos
ATLANTIC CITY –The Division of Gaming Enforcement announced today the temporary adoption of regulations which authorize Atlantic City casinos to offer fantasy sports tournaments to their patrons.The regulations will become effective April 22, 2013. "The casinos’ vast customer base and the ability to have contest winners utilize the casino cage to accept entry fees for fantasy sports tournaments and pay out winnings resulting from those tournaments provides an exciting opportunity to bring fantasy sports tournaments to Atlantic City,” said Director David Rebuck. "We see this as an added amenity and beneficial to the casinos and their customers.”The regulations permit the casinos, by themselves or in partnership with fantasy sports providers, to offer fantasy sports tournaments or contests."These regulations continue to ensure integrity in gross revenue accounting by allowing the Division to maintain the authority to approve how transactions relating to fantasy sports tournaments are processed by the casino cage,” said Rebuck.The casinos will be required to submit to the Division internal controls on their cage processes.The minimum age for participation in fantasy sports tournaments at a casino is 21.The temporary regulations will remain in effect for a period of 270 days. Within that time period, the Division will propose them for final adoption.The regulations on fantasy sports games (N.J.A.C. 13:69P) can be found athttp://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/temporaryorders.html.