Connecticut panel passes plan with fees on fantasy sports

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A FanDuel advertisement is seen as the New Orleans Saints take the field against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 15, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

HARTFORD — Connecticut lawmakers have passed a proposed tax package that expects to raise about $9.5 million from fantasy sports to help balance the state’s deficit-plagued budget.

A Democratic tax package cleared the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee 30-to-21. It would impose an 8.75 percent surcharge on total entry fees fantasy sports operators collect.

The bill, which needs approval from the full legislature, also requires the state to adopt regulations for fantasy sports.

DraftKings, one of the key fantasy sports websites, released a statement from Director of Public Relations Griffin Finan in response to the bill: “We support legislation that confirms that fantasy sports contests are legal and embrace thoughtful and appropriate consumer protections. We are opposed to a tax on our customers’ entry fees. This is not the time for a new tax on the fantasy sports fans in Connecticut.

FanDuel, the other main fantasy sports site, also released a statement: “Taxing the 600,000 fantasy players in Connecticut isn’t the right answer. Players should be protected with firm consumer protection regulations fantasy companies must adhere to — they shouldn’t be taxed. Nearly 30 states are advancing legislation to protect fantasy play, and Connecticut is the only state proposing to tax players in this way.”

Like the spending package approved Wednesday, this bill is based on January revenue estimates when Connecticut’s deficit was $570 million. It’s now at least $900 million.

The bill repeals sales taxes on coin-operated car washes, baby diapers and feminine hygiene products while reducing taxes on luxury goods, boats and ambulatory surgical centers over time.