Friday, April 28, 2017

OPEN SEASON? Little chance of legalizing daily fantasy sports gambling in February 2017 (Legal Sports Report); passage now possible! (AP)

Back in February, there was little chance that our Florida legislature would legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS), held illegal by the Attorney General of Florida since 1991. Louche lobbyists with their fists wrapped around PAC cash oozed into The Governors Club, Inc. and other locales where legislators get "persuaded." Now, mutatis mutandis, mirabile dictu, AP reports, there's a likelihood DFS legalization, without any regulation -- "Open Season" for internet gambling -- might pass by May 5 session end:

APRIL 27, 2017 10:49 AM
Play on? Florida legislators may approve fantasy sports
The Associated Press


Florida legislators may reach a deal this year on the murky legal status of fantasy sports in the state.

House and Senate Republicans negotiating a comprehensive gambling bill that focuses primarily on casino gambling are including in the legislation proposals regarding fantasy sports.

Senate negotiators on Thursday offered their support for a House bill that says betting on fantasy contests would be allowed as long as the sponsor of the contest is not a participant.

Florida's attorney general back in 1991 issued an opinion that football fantasy leagues were a form of illegal gambling. But fantasy leagues have continued to flourish and expand since then, including the creation of daily fantasy leagues.

Some Republican legislators tried unsuccessfully last year to legalize fantasy contests.

The annual session ends on May 5.

Read more here:
What's going on here?


Future Of Florida Fantasy Sports Regulation Up In Air With Latest Gaming Bill

Florida Gaming and DFS
Contents [show]
The future of fantasy sports regulation in Florida continues to be in question, with a new version of an omnibus gaming bill in the state legislature appearing.

The House gaming bill and Florida fantasy sports

A new omnibus gaming bill appeared in the House this week. That bill, however, does not include provisions relating to daily fantasy sports.
That comes in the context that the Senate already has its own version of a gaming bill, which does include paid-entry fantasy sports legalization and regulation. The fact that the two bills do not mesh in regards to fantasy sports — or on a lot of other topics — calls into question any gaming measure getting through the legislature this year.
More from Florida Politics on the bill:
Last month, House Speaker Richard Corcoran suggested his chamber’s approach to gambling would be different.
“I’ve seen the (Senate) bill, and look, it’s not where we’re at,” Corcoran told reporters. “The three things we’ve said are, it has to be a contraction (of gambling) … we want a constitutional amendment that bans the expansion of gaming; the Senate’s said they have no interest … and we have courts that keep encroaching upon our ability to make those decisions.”
Whether the Senate and House can iron out differences in those bills — and whether the House will add fantasy sports to the mix — remain open questions.

There are also standalone DFS bills in Florida

The only path forward may not be through the omnibus bill. There are bills in both the House and Senate that would deal with fantasy sports separately.
In fact, during a Senate hearing on the omnibus gaming bill, Sen. Dana Young indicated her intent to introduce a bill that surfaced in January. Similar efforts made progress but also met with resistance in 2016.

Florida is among a small set of very important states for DFS

There are bills floating around in 40 percent of state legislatures pertaining to fantasy sports.
But gaining legal clarity in Florida is among the top priorities for DraftKings and FanDuel. The state is one of the first places the industry started lobbying back in the summer of 2015, before legislative interest in DFS truly ramped up.
Despite the fact that most operators serve the state, the current legality of DFS is certainly not an open-and-shut case. Florida — along with TexasIllinois and California — remain the most important states in terms of DFS becoming regulated and gaining legal clarity.

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Dustin Gouker
 - Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.


Florida To Take A Second Swing At Daily Fantasy Sports Legality, With No Regulation

Florida daily fantasy sports
Florida is one of a large swath of states where lawmakers introduced daily fantasy sportslegislation that didn’t become law in 2016. Eight states did move to legalize DFS last year.
In 2017, Florida will likely be one of the states the DFS industry focuses on most in its quest for legal clarity around the US. A new bill signals the start of that effort.

The new Florida fantasy sports bill

H 149 (summary here, full text here) was introduced last week by State Rep. Jason Brodeur.
The bill clarifies the legality of DFS only, and does not regulate the industry in Florida.
The bill is just two pages. It defines a “fantasy contest” and a “fantasy contest operator,” much like it is defined in the federal UIGEA and a host of state laws. Then the bill goes on to say contests and operators are not subject to regulation and are exempt from several parts of the state code, mostly pertaining to gambling and games of skill:
EXEMPTION.—A fantasy contest conducted by a fantasy 35 contest operator is not subject to regulation by the Department 36 of Business and Professional Regulation and is not subject to s. 37 849.01, s. 849.08, s. 849.09, s. 849.11, s. 849.14, or s. 38 849.25.
Brodeur told Florida Politics that he wants to clarify whether DFS is legal in the state:
“The question was never answered,” he said. “The millions of Floridians who play fantasy games deserve to know that what they’re doing is not a crime.”

If at first you don’t succeed….

Previously, the charge for DFS legality was led by state Sen. Joe Negron and state Rep. Matt Gaetz. That effort actually started late in 2015, and the bill never reached the finish line.
Legislation last year also sought to regulate the industry, however. It’s not clear why the DFS effort this year is starting without a regulatory component.
Like legislation anywhere, it’s very easy to introduce a bill. Moving it forward is an entirely different matter. Seeing as a bill that regulated DFS received pushback in 2016, a bill that provides no oversight would seem to have an even more uncertain future.

The other moving parts in Florida

There are lots of things to consider in Florida regarding DFS, outside of the bill itself:

It the bill does pass, it would be open season in Florida

The wording of the DFS bill in Florida is such that it would authorize things more akin to sports betting than most of the DFS industry as currently situated.
So far, similar language in other states has not been leveraged by an operator to offer what amounts to prop bets based on player performances under a DFS law. But such a development would seem to be just a matter of time, not a matter of “if.”
A large state that legalizes such activity for operators — with no regulation and no barrier to entry — would seem to be a good entry point.

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