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April 4, 2017

Lawmakers look at tax on fantasy sports leagues

State lawmakers are looking a tax on fantasy sports leagues as a potential source of revenue.

The Sun Journal reports that a proposal this week would require anyone operating a fantasy league to register annually with the Maine Department of Public Safety and pay a fee of 10% of their yearly revenues, capped at $5,000.

Fantasy sports is a booming industry. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the growth of the number of people playing fantasy sports — including soccer, baseball, hockey, NASCAR, football and basketball — in the United States and Canada has exploded over the years, from an estimated 500,000 players in 1988 to 57.4 million in 2016. 

"Right now in Maine, online fantasy sports games are already being played on websites like Draft Kings, for example. Unlike your normal office pool fantasy football league, these sites are allowing people to spend large sums of money and they are completely unregulated in Maine," Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, told the paper.

The proposal was expected to go next to the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs.

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