Hard Rock CEO Says Florida Did ‘Right Thing’ On Fantasy Sports Pick’em

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen made it clear to Florida gaming regulators that fantasy sports operators operating pick’em games that mirror prop betting was unacceptable to him. 

Allen told LSR that FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook also led the effort. 

“We made it very clear we would not continue to be in that type of environment,” Allen told LSR Thursday at the East Coast Gaming Congress conference.

Why fantasy sports operators left Florida

As first reported by LSR, fantasy sports operators PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy and Betr exited the market amid pressure from the state regulator. 

Allen explained the events that led to Florida taking similar action to other jurisdictions in halting against the house pick’em offerings that too closely mirror proposition sports betting wagers. Florida regulators sent a pair of cease and desist letters to PrizePicks, Underdog and Betr.

The second one, in January, promised no further legal action if the trio left the state by March 1, with which they compiled. PrizePicks and Underdog relaunched DFS under a peer-to-peer model as of Monday.

Hard Rock talks with DraftKings, FanDuel on Florida DFS

“The legal definition of ‘fantasy’ has been out there for awhile. And I’ve obviously spoken with Jason Robins and Amy Howe. We don’t have a fight. We’re not interested in the definition of fantasy,” Allen told LSR. “But when people are taking prop bets like a normal sports betting operation that was obviously very problematic. And certainly when we met with the leaders of the state and the Florida regulator, we said, ‘If this is what you want to do, fine. But you’re jeopardizing $700 million a year in payments from us.’ And we made it very clear we would not continue to be in that type of environment.

“The good news is the state looked into it the right way. And candidly, FanDuel, DraftKings, we were all on it. It wasn’t just me saying it. And the state did the right thing.”

He previously said the offerings from those fantasy sports operators “unequivocally” violates the 2021 gaming compact that gives the Seminole Tribe of Florida exclusivity on sports betting via the Hard Rock Bet app.