- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced a bill to not only regulate daily fantasy sports, but tax it as well.

State Sen. James Whelan, the former Democratic mayor of Atlantic City, drafted a similar bill last year but never formally introduced it.

The measure he introduced Monday adds consumer protections and imposes the same 9.25 percent tax rate on daily fantasy sports companies’ gross revenue that Atlantic City’s casinos pay on their winnings.

“Since announcing our efforts to regulate daily fantasy sports, I have spent the last few months meeting with regulators, players and daily fantasy sports officials,” Whelan said. “I can confidently say that we have a good bill that puts important consumer safeguards in place while not impeding people’s ability to play and enjoy daily fantasy sports.”

At least two other states, California and New York, have proposals to tax revenue from the games. About 30 states nationwide have introduced bills to regulate daily fantasy sports.

The contests allow people to deposit money in accounts, create fantasy rosters of sports teams by selecting real players and then compete against other contestants based on the statistical performances of those players to win money. Proponents say it’s a game of skill, not chance, and shouldn’t be regulated the way casinos are, but many states consider them to be forms of gambling.

Whelan’s bill only governs daily fantasy sports, not season-long fantasy games.

Under the bill, the Department of Law and Public Safety would oversee and regulate daily fantasy sports in New Jersey, issuing permits to casino licensees and other business entities that want to offer daily fantasy sports games in the state.

Employees of daily fantasy sports companies and their immediate family members would be prohibited from playing, or from sharing “insider information” with others. Violators could be fined up to $200,000.

The bill will be discussed Thursday afternoon in a state Senate committee in Trenton.

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Follow Wayne Parry at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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