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Daily fantasy sports had one its busiest days ever on the legislative front, with bills being considered in four states on Wednesday.
The states where DFS legislation was under consideration, all on the same day:
The Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed SB 832 out of committee on Wednesday with wide support (8-2) — minus that of the committee chairman, Rob Bradley. A few hours later, the House version of the bill — HB 707 — also passed a committee hearing.
The daily fantasy sports industry has been working hard to keep — or make — DFS legal in Florida in recent months. Draft legislation was floated late last year, and the industry has reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying and political contributions.
Legislation made it past an initial committee vote in the Assembly earlier this month.
Since then, Sen. Joe Negron, the bill’s sponsor (along with Rep. Matt Gaetz), made a major revision to the bill that tightened up the bill’s language and increased the regulatory measures in the bill:
Negron indicated that he would work to add language about geolocation to the bill (i.e. sites should have the means to block players in states where DFS is not legal.)
Industry lobbyist Jeremy Kudon told Legal Sports Report that DraftKings and FanDuel are supportive of the amended bill.
The bill was considered on the same day that the Seminole gaming compact was being talked about in the committee. A representative for the Seminoles previously indicated that the tribe believes that DFS is gambling; that stance has not yet manifested itself in much visible opposition to the regulatory bill.
The DFS regulatory bill (AB 1437) in California — introduced by Assemblymember Adam Gray — last year has picked up a lot of momentum in January. The legislation passed out of the Governmental Organization committee nearly unanimously in January and later passed unopposed out of the Appropriations committee.
That momentum continued this week as the bill passed the full Assembly and now moves on to the Senate. It needed a two-thirds majority of 54 votes to pass the chamber, and it was approved 62-1.
Assemblymember Marc Levine, a vocal opponent of the DFS industry, was the only “no” vote.
In the background of the California DFS effort are a couple of items of interest:
Indiana was scheduled to consider parallel bills in committee hearings on Wednesday — SB 339 and HB 1168. As a procedural matter, the House bill was stripped of the DFS language, but the Senate version passed unanimously out of committee.
It appears, like the proposed Massachusetts DFS regulations, that college contests could be excluded.
— Mark Alesia (@markalesia) January 27, 2016
The chief sponsor of the House version — Rep. Alan Morrison — has been considering the DFS industry for more than a year and has been spearheading the legislative effort in the state.
A bill — AB 800 — surfaced within the last week. The bill offers basic regulation of the industry and consumer protections.
No vote was taken on Wednesday; the bill was just the subject of a public hearing.
The bill’s author — Rep. Tyle Vorpagel — spoke on behalf of the bill during Wednesday’s hearing. Fantasy Sports Trade Association chairman Peter Schoenke appeared on behalf of the industry.
Several lawmakers questioned whether fantasy sports are actually games of skill, and there were also concerns of whether the bill could run afoul of the state constitution.