Third Time’s The Charm? Florida Will Attempt To Pass Fantasy Sports Bill Again

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Florida DraftKings 2018

Will this finally be the year a fantasy sports law is passed in Florida?

State lawmakers have twice made a push in the state to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports. But those efforts have come up short in the last two legislative sessions.

Now, Senate (S 374) and House (H 223) versions of a fantasy sports bill have emerged in a state where the legal landscape remains gray.

The new DFS bills

The Florida legislature does not return to session until 2018. But Rep. Jason Brodeur and Sen. Dana Young have both filed fantasy sports bills to be considered when the statehouse stirs back to action.

Both bills would clarify the legality of paid-entry fantasy sports in the state. As Brodeur alluded to, a 1991 attorney general’s opinion said that paid-entry fantasy sports is illegal under the state’s gambling laws.

Current AG Pam Bondi has not weighed in publicly on the applicability of that opinion to the current landscape.

Florida’s efforts date back to 2015

The negative legal climate and the sheer size of the state in terms of population and DFS users for DraftKings and FanDuel has made it an important battleground state. The two sites and most others serve Florida.

Even as 16 states have enacted fantasy sports laws, Florida has failed to do so twice before.

The first bills surfaced in 2015, but those bills died in both 2016 and 2017.

Last year, fantasy sports got tied up along with negotiations on an omnibus gaming bill, scuttling the chances for DFS legalization. A late end-around also fell short.

New effort for Wisconsin, as well

Wisconsin is also going to try again on a daily fantasy sports bill, as A 526 surfaced this week as well.

Like in Florida, tribes in the state have remained a stumbling block for passing DFS regulation.

Wisconsin also features anti-gambling groups trying to halt progress on legislation.