Florida Sports Betting Laws Could Incorporate Daily Fantasy Bill

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jan 10, 2024 12:00 AM
Amid concerns about the use of Daily Fantasy in The Sunshine State, another Florida sports betting bill has been proposed to address it.

A new Daily Fantasy bill has officially been added to the Florida sports betting agenda.

This news comes on the heels of yet another sports betting controversy in The Sunshine State. The Florida Supreme Court is currently reviewing a motion from West Flagler Associates. Whatever ruling comes down may ultimately decide the immediate fate of sports gambling in The Sunshine State.

Regardless of what happens with this decision, though, the long-term fate of sports betting in Florida may lie with the United States Supreme Court. They continue to review the matter, and the expectation is that they could decide to hear the case between West Flagler Associates and the Seminole Tribe.

As all of this is unfolding, though, concerns over Daily Fantasy Sports usage in Florida began bubbling to the surface. Several Daily Fantasy Sports betting bills have since emerged in advance of 2024 legislature meetings. And one proposed by Senator Travis Hutson is starting to generate a lot of buzz.

New Florida Sports Betting Bill Seeks to Allow and Regulate Daily Fantasy Sports

Senator Hutson’s Daily Fantasy Sports betting bill attempts to remedy a progressively complex issue. His proposal was inspired by previous frameworks that other states have adopted. If successful, it would both allow Daily Fantasy Sports betting in Florida and heavily regulate it. Sam McQuillan of Legal Sports Report relayed—and expounded upon—full details of the initiative:

A Florida daily fantasy sports bill introduced by Sen. Travis Hutson would create the framework for Florida’s gaming commission to regulate DFS, which have mostly operated in a legal gray area. Other states have executed similar moves after launching legal Florida sports betting, which returned to the state late last year. The difference between the two industries has increasingly blurred as a new wave of DFS games resembling player prop parlays gain popularity nationwide. In the past year, a handful of states have banned or taken steps to restrict those “pick’em” games, including Florida.

The bill would create the framework for DFS operators to get licensed, and for the Florida Gaming Control Commission to develop and enforce rules for the industry. Hutton’s proposal lays out a statute for those rules: Fantasy operators may not be game contestants (i.e., players competing against the house). Minimum age to play DFS is 21 years old. Annual third-party audits for operators. No outcome may be based on a score or point spread. [And] licenses [must be] renewed annually.”

These rules and regulations are pretty standard. And the track record of other states using them may be a good harbinger. Nevertheless, the question is: How will Florida react to this initiative?

Will a Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Bill be Approved in Florida?

There is no clear expectation for how well (or poorly) this bill will be received. However, given that the state previously brokered a sports betting compact with the Seminole tribe, it stands to reason most members of the Florida House of Representatives and Senate would support the official legalization and regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports.

In fact, this might be true now more than ever. With the Florida sports betting still tied up in litigation, the state could want to preserve their alternative tax revenue streams. The growing popularity of Daily Fantasy Sports betting in the United States could help them do just that.

To be sure, it’s not like Florida sports is in imminent danger of being repealed for a second time. Still, it’s also not free from the judgment of higher courts. It could, in theory, be rolled back a second time.

By legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports, Florida would safeguard itself against the sudden disappearance of sports betting revenue. And even if nothing changes, the state’s sports betting market is rather finite. The Seminole Tribe retains gaming exclusivity. Allowing Daily Fantasy Sports to continue in Florida would allow many of the best online sportsbooks in the United States crack what’s believed to be a top-three gaming market.

Why is Florida Focusing on Daily Fantasy Sports Now?

Many have considered the Florida Daily Sports betting issue a branch off the larger sports-gambling tree. That’s not an inaccurate way of thinking. After all, this wasn’t a front-and-center dilemma until legal sports betting returned to Florida at the end of 2023.

Then again, topicality is not the cause for why Daily Fantasy Sports are front-of-mind. Problems arose when the state sent cease and desist letters to Daily Fantasy Sports sites such as Betr, PrizePicks and others. However, these same letters were not sent to DraftKings or FanDuel—two Daily Fantasy Sports betting sites that also just so happen to be the two most popular online sports betting sites in the USA.

Officials from those other companies took exception to the haziness of Florida’s actions. So, too, did certain policymakers. Senator Joe Gruters, in particular, wanted the Florida Gaming Control Commission to explain the inconsistent disbursement of those letters.

Of course, the gaming commission insisted the same kind of letters would find their way to FanDuel and DraftKings. But the divergent timeline still incited discussion. And then there were the cease and desist letters themselves. With sports betting in Florida legalized once again, many wanted to know why Daily Fantasy Sports would be left out.

For now, DFS betting sites in Florida currently aren’t allowed. They are technically in more of a legal gray area, but the state is clearly against usage without regulation. To that end, legal Daily Fantasy Sports betting could be coming to Florida soon. We’ll know for sure by the end of The Sunshine State’s 2024 legislature session.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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