Florida Bill Would Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports

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Daily fantasy sports in Florida has existed in the vacuum of legality. It’s not illegal. But it’s not technically legal either.

A pre-bill filed by Rep. Jason Shoaf (R-District 7) would legalize DFS and clarify the void where the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy have done business, even after being issued cease-and-desist orders in September.

HB 679 defines fantasy sports as “a contest in which a participant pays an entry fee and manages a fantasy or simulation sports team composed of athletes from a professional sports organization with the opportunity to win a cash prize.” The performances of college, high school, and youth players are prohibited.

According to the bill:

  • “Prizes and awards for the winning participants must be established and disclosed to contest participants before entry.”
  • “All winning outcomes [must] reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the fantasy sports contest participant.”
  • “All winning outcomes are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of more than one individual.”

According to the bill, contests cannot be based upon the following:

  • “The score, point spread, or performance of a team or combination of teams.”
  • The single performance of an individual in a single event or a pari-mutuel event.”
  • “A game of poker or other card game.”
  • “Casino graphics, themes, or titles, including, but not limited to, depictions of slot machine-style symbols, cards, dice, craps, roulette, or lotto, may not be displayed or depicted.”

The 60-day Florida legislative session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9.

Florida Law Would Buck National Trend Limiting DFS

Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks pulled out of Maryland and West Virginia in 2022 after being issued cease-and-desist letters, but still take pick ’em and prop-style plays in Florida.

States have begun reassessing the legality of DFS in conjunction with the spread of legal sports betting, but Florida is among the first in attempting to broadly legalize it.

Sports betting is legal through mobile and retail betting — beginning Thursday — in Florida with the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Bet holding a monopoly.

New York and Michigan changed laws to ban props-style DFS this year and Underdog was fined nearly $400,000 and ordered to stand down in Maine.

PrizePicks has mutated its offerings in some states, offering peer-to-peer props or free-to-play games to appease regulators. DraftKings and FanDuel are offering similar contests, but PrizePicks and Underdog have absorbed much of the scrutiny.

In November, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a review of whether DFS violated state gambling laws. California is the largest DFS market nationally.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer at Gaming Today. He has covered the sports betting industry in the United States since before professional sports teams even knew what an official gaming partnership entailed.

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