Daily Fantasy Sports Is Hot Topic In Florida Politics Early In Year
Legal Sports Report

Florida Daily Fantasy Sports Regulation Lumped Into Massive Gambling Expansion Bill

Florida new DFS bill

Daily fantasy sports has been lumped into a larger gambling bill in Florida that would be a massive expansion of gaming. The legislation also includes the state’s latest attempt at a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.

A glance at the Florida DFS bill

State Sen. Bill Galvano introduced a bill — S 8 (here) — that would regulate DFS in Florida. A summary from the bill’s sponsor lays out the plan for DFS.

The bill would put regulation of paid-entry fantasy sports under a newly created “Office of Amusements.” It would also label fantasy contests as games of skill and not gambling, under state law.

Also among the bill’s provisions is a licensing fee of $500,000, an amount that would certainly be paid by the industry’s largest players, DraftKings and FanDuel. Those two companies plan to merge this year, as well.

More from the DFS bill’s sponsor

A statement from Galvano did not address fantasy sports:

“This legislation in large part builds upon Senate work that has taken place over the last several years.  My goal has been to address all aspects of gaming in a comprehensive manner that balances the interests of an industry that has contributed to Florida’s economy for nearly a hundred years, our ongoing revenue-sharing agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the authority of local voters, while maximizing revenues to the state.

Florida and DFS backstory

The legislation that seeks to regulate the DFS industry is the second bill to surface early in 2017. The other bill offers no regulation or licensing for the industry.

Florida attempted to legalize and regulate DFS over the past year-plus throughout 2016. Previously, state Sen. Joe Negron and state Rep. Matt Gaetz spearheaded the effort. The legislative effort actually started in 2015, and a bill was never enacted.

It’s not clear if a standalone bill for DFS is also forthcoming. DFS language appeared on its own and in the same legislative vehicle as the Seminole gaming compact, at different points in 2016.

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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.