Fantasy sports legislation gets Senate committee clearance

by | Jan 30, 2024

The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries advanced the Fantasy Sports Contest Amusement Act, proposed by Sen. Travis Hutson, which aims to regulate and license fantasy sports contests for individuals over 21, distinguishing them from traditional gambling

The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries advanced the Fantasy Sports Contest Amusement Act on Monday, which proposes to regulate fantasy sports contests within the state.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Travis Hutson, seeks to authorize fantasy sports contests for individuals aged 21 and over in Florida. The bill categorizes these contests as games of skill, thereby distinguishing them from traditional gambling.

“What our bill does is define what daily fantasy sports are, and how individuals can participate in that,” said Hutson.

If the legislation is adopted, fantasy sports contest operators would be required to obtain licenses from the Florida Gaming Control Commission, bringing the entities and their activities under state oversight, with the Commission responsible for enforcing compliance with the act, conducting investigations, and monitoring the operation of these contests.

Such contests, based on participants creating teams from real professional sports players, have emerged as a gray area in state law.

In December, The Capitolist reported that despite issuing cease-and-desist letters to three other daily fantasy sports operators in September, the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) has refrained from taking similar action against DraftKings, spotlighting a potentially selective approach in the enforcement of regulations within Florida’s sports wagering industry.

DraftKings, a major player in the broader betting landscape, verified that it had not been issued a cease-and-desist letter by the FGCC despite the agency’s action against Underdog Sports, PrizePicks, and the celebrity-endorsed Betr. The notices accused the companies of potentially engaging in illegal sports betting activities within Florida by offering props-style daily fantasy sports.

“We can confirm that we have not received any communication of this nature from the Florida Gaming Control Commission,” a DraftKings spokesperson told The Capitolist.

In sending the cease-and-desist notices to the trio of companies, the FGCC contended that hosting fantasy-style betting platforms contravenes Florida statute, and refers to its offering as “strictly prohibited” and permissible only under a gaming compact.

“Under Florida law, betting or wagering on the result of contests of skill, such as sports betting, including fantasy sports betting, is strictly prohibited and constitutes a felony offense unless such activity is otherwise exempted by statute,” FGCC Executive Director Louis Trobetta wrote in the letters. “Accordingly, in Florida, sports betting may be lawfully conducted only pursuant to a gaming compact.”


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