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Should NH regulate online fantasy sports?

Apr 20, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering HB 580, a bill that would regulate online fantasy sport contests. Under this bill, fantasy sport operators would pay an annual fee of up to $5,000 and a 5% tax on revenue based on the percentage of their players who are New Hampshire residents. (The tax may be credited against other New Hampshire business taxes). Companies would also have to register with the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

Fantasy sports websites allow users to bet on the performance of players, whether on game day or over the course of a season.

Currently, New Hampshire law doesn't address online fantasy sports. Whether the games fit under the state's definition of gambling or not is a matter of debate. This means that while an estimated 200,000 New Hampshire residents already play fantasy sport games like DraftKings and FanDuel online, the legal status of those games here is murky.

Supporters argue that HB 580 will clarify the legality of fantasy sports and provide some protection for players. In addition, taxes could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the state.

On the other hand, opponents argue that the taxes and fees in HB 580 would hurt smaller fantasy sports operations, effectively granting a monopoly to DraftKings and FanDuel, who are seeking a merger. Others argue that fantasy sports require skill and knowledge of the game, so fantasy sports don't fall under state gambling laws and should not be regulated like a lottery or game of chance.

Should NH clarify the legal status of online fantasy sports by regulating and taxing them? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.

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