Daily fantasy sports measure sinks in Florida legislature

Florida Daily Fantasy Sports
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A piece of legislation in Florida related to fantasy sports contests has died in the Senate.

Senate Bill 1658, filed in January by Sen. Travis Hutson, failed to progress in the Florida legislature as a measure that proposed to authorize and regulate fantasy sports in the Sunshine State while prohibiting contests against the house.

SB 1658 established a requirement for operators to disclose prize pools ahead of contests and also prohibited contests relating to college sports. Under the bill, the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) provided oversight for fantasy contests in the state for players who are at least 21 years old.

SB 1658 died in the Senate due to a failure to be heard before the end of Florida’s regular session, which was March 8. The state’s Senate Fiscal Policy Committee approved SB 1658 in February by an 18-0 vote but the measure failed to progress any further. As a result, bills related to the legalization of fantasy contests will have to wait until 2025 to be considered.

The measure could have driven profits for Florida as it required fantasy operators to pay an initial $500,000 application fee. If approved, an operator had to pay $250,000 to renew.

Tumultuous fantasy market in Florida

The failure of SB 1658 in the Florida legislature comes amid contentious discussions about the fantasy sports industry across the state.

Last month, the FGCC ordered PrizePicks, Underdog Fantasy, and Betr to shutter operations in the state for “offering or accepting illegal bets or wagers from [Florida] residents” and “conducting any illegal lotteries.” The FGCC cited the operators’ pick’em style contests, which mimic player proposition betting in some jurisdictions in the U.S.

PrizePicks, Underdog, and Betr were given a March 1 deadline to shutter their pick’em contests.

Despite the FGCC’s demands, DraftKings and FanDuel continue to provide fantasy contests in Florida. The matter was raised by Sen. Joe Gruters, who asked the commission to explain how the trio of operators violated state law compared to FanDuel and DraftKings. He also questioned the FGCC’s interpretation of what defines fantasy and sports wagering.