Daily Fantasy Sports on the table in Florida

by Kyle Miller

While legislators of Florida seem to be uncompromising when it comes to gambling expansion, daily fantasy sports is not included, as a lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to see DFS take place legally in the state.

The state of Florida has been avoiding any expansion into gaming sticking solely to race tracks and tribal run casinos. Lawmakers of the state do not seem interested in offering online gaming or changing any regulations. However, for the subject of daily fantasy sports, lawmakers seem to be willing to make an exception.

Daily Fantasy Sports Legislation

Jason BrodeurSanford Representative Jason Brodeur has filed a measure that will legalize daily fantasy spots contests exempt from state gambling regulations. The bill was filed last week in the House but no companion bill has been presented in the state Senate.

The proposed bill would see the Department of Business and Professional Regulation not regulating the daily fantasy sports websites. This group currently oversees slots, gambling, poker and racetrack gambling. DraftKings and FanDuel are top DFS operators who let players choose temporary teams and place wagers on single-match fantasy sports games. The sites are operating in what is being called a gray area.

In many states, games that are considered of skill are not subject to gambling laws, such as DFS. Games that are considered of chance, like roulette, blackjack, etc. will be subject to gaming laws. DFS sites have long claimed to be offering a game of skill but many governments in individual states have disagreed. Currently, DFS gaming is legal in 13 US states while five have determined the contests are illegal. The remainder have the activity as unregulated.

Games of Skill

The bill created by Broduer gives a nod to the DFS contests being a game of skill. The bill states that daily fantasy wagering is legal as long as the activity has all winning outcomes in reflection of the relative knowledge and skill of participants and is determined by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals which includes athletes of the sporting events.

Similar Bills Presented in 2016

Last year, similar bills to Broduer’s proposal were presented by Senators Joe Negron and Matt Gaetz. These bills were unable to move forward. The American Gaming Association last year began to push for sports betting legalization, which is an industry that is actually larger than daily fantasy sports. As far as sports betting is concerned, there is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that must be changed before states can offer such wagering options. However, for daily fantasy sports, there is no such issue. Basically, each state has the option to create legislation to regulate the industry, leave it alone or deem the activity illegal gambling.

Gaming lawyer of Florida, Daniel Wallach, commented in the New Times on the subject of the new proposed law by stating that it will be a cost to consumers if it passes. There will be no regulatory oversight and no regulations in place, as other states have put in place. The bill just removes the DFS industry from state gambling laws without providing consumer protections. Wallach also feels that it is odd to try and regulate such sites that offer DFS as police are not going after fantasy sports players even if they are placing wagers daily. No one from the state has been prosecuted for taking part in a DFS contest.

For now, we will simply have to watch and see what happens. Will the bill be passed and move on to remove daily fantasy sports from gambling laws of the state? Will regulations eventually be put in place to protect consumers who take part in such activities?