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Pa. takes in $200K in first month of legalized fantasy sports betting

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Pennsylvania took in just under $200,000 in tax revenue for the month of May according to the very first tax report issued for fantasy sports contests under the state’s gaming expansion bill.

Under gaming expansion, websites like DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo Fantasy Sports, which host fantasy sports betting contests online, needed to register with Pennsylvania if it took bets from anyone in the state.

The state then collects 15 percent in tax revenue from those bets.

Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission, said these companies were in operation before the gaming expansion, but no taxes were collected.

Several states had banned the websites from within their borders, but Pennsylvania was not one of them.

Fantasy sports betting involves the bettors choosing real athletes to create their own virtual team and then collecting points based on how each well each of those players performs during a game or over the course of the sport’s season. Entry fees and winnings vary by game.

While it is the first tax revenue the state has received under the new gaming expansions, the $199,755.94 the state will receive from the $1,331,706.34 in fantasy sports bets placed in Pennsylvania is not a large amount.

Harbach, said however, that the state hadn’t made a prediction of how much tax revenue it would receive from the games.

“We didn’t really know at what level Pennsylvania players were betting at,” he said, noting that prior to May no taxes were collected at all.

A total of 10 websites are registered to accept fantasy sports bets in Pennsylvania, however, two did not report any revenue for May, likely due to the seasonal nature of the sports they take bets on.

Fantasy sports betting is the first of six gaming expansion initiatives being implemented in Pennsylvania, others include adding Keno to lottery outlets and online lottery games.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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