New Jersey passes daily fantasy sports regulation, tax bill

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) The Legislature on Friday passed a bill to regulate and tax daily fantasy sports and sent it to Republican Gov. Chris Christie for his signature.

The bill, passed by the state Senate on a 29-6 vote, would impose a 10.5 percent tax on the winnings of companies that offer daily fantasy sports. It was approved by the Assembly in May.

It is one of several measures New Jersey is taking to boost the fortunes of its struggling casino and horse racing industries. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the state's challenge to a federal ban on sports betting in all but four states.

State Sen. James Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, said the fantasy sports bill is geared more toward protecting those who play daily fantasy sports than in generating revenue for the state. He said the bill estimates daily fantasy sports would generate $6.6 million a year in state taxes.

''It's a consumer protection measure as opposed to something we're looking to make a ton of money off of,'' the Democrat said. ''Hopefully the governor will sign this and we'll be able to keep daily fantasy sports going in New Jersey. That was always the goal.''

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.

Christie has championed New Jersey's effort in an attempt to use sports gambling revenues to bolster the fortunes of the state's casino and horse racing industries. It was not clear when the governor would act on the bill, though he was locked in a tense budget faceoff with Democratic leaders of the state Legislature on Friday that threatened to end with a shutdown of state government if no deal was reached by midnight.

The bill enables a daily fantasy sports provider to partner with a casino or racetrack, but does not require that they do so.

It prohibits the use of high school sports games and players in daily fantasy sports contests.

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

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