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
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 Texas, Illinois and California — remain the most important states in terms of DFS becoming regulated and gaining legal clarity.