N.J. dreaming of getting cut of fantasy sports

Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly committee hearing on fantasy sports. (Phil Gregory WHYY)

Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly committee hearing on fantasy sports. (Phil Gregory WHYY)

Daily fantasy sports games officially would be allowed and regulated in New Jersey if a measure advanced by an Assembly committee becomes law. Participants in fantasy sports put together imaginary teams of real pro athletes, pay an entry fee, and then compete for prizes by getting scores based on statistics those athletes produce in real games.

Former New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Steven Perskie presented a legal analysis saying fantasy sports are games of skill and should not be considered gambling.

“The participant must have and demonstrate a significant knowledge base, a significant sense of the variables that are in work in analyzing the data that is available, and a sufficient judgment and perspective to know everything that needs to be known and to make the right decisions with respect to it,” he said.

Chris Grimm represents fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel. He says says more than 300,000 New Jersey residents play those games and the regulations would protect the industry and consumers.

“We really don’t want a sort of fly-by-night operator to pop up, call themselves fantasy sports, pretend to be a legitimate business, and end up fleecing consumers,” he testified.

Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee chairman Ralph Caputo says the legislation would impose a fee on the providers equal to 10.5 percent of their gross revenue.

“We don’t know exactly what that would be. We’re estimating maybe 5 to 10 million a year. After the first year if we feel that we’re not getting our lion’s share and it’s going to cost money to administrate, we may do a little better, but right now that seems fair,” he said.

Grimm said he estimates the fee would bring in at least a $1 million from FanDuel and DraftKings.

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