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Florida Fantasy Sports Bill Passes First Subcommittee Vote

January 16, 2016

Good news for Florida fans of daily fantasy sports: this month, Florida laid the grounding framework for legalizing and regulating this form of online gambling, after the state’s House Business & Professional Subcommittee passed bill HB 707. Its next challenge to full legal status is achieving passage through the Florida House of Representatives.

The bill, at present, protects the growing private interests of fantasy-sports companies from established and restrictive Florida state gambling laws. It verifies that companies may legally offer for-profit services to players for monetary prizes. The legal framework in place includes such provisions as requiring players to be at least 18 years of age, and must not be currently employed, or related to employees of, fantasy sports companies. Companies servicing daily- and seasonally-updated fantasy sports leagues for more than 750 players can purchase licenses from the state to the tune of $500,000, and must renew annually for $100,000. They must also submit to third-party legal reviews to verify their compliance with these provisions.

The bill was introduced by two republican state representatives: Matt Gaetz and Ritch Workman. Gaetz said his piece of legislation functions to create “a permissive and yet regulated environment to ensure Floridians can participate in fantasy contests.” Gaetz’s next self-proclaimed goals are to establish provisions for employee history checks.

Gaetz believes that the passage of the current form of the bill will make Florida “a model for the country.” With regards to policy regarding the relationship between fantasy sport leagues and existing gambling laws, “other states have got it wrong.”

Indeed, in these states, online fantasy sports have been facing increasing fire. Such states include New York, in which the state attorney general is actively attempting to shut such companies down, and national gambling hub Nevada, which has now banned fantasy sports servicers to purchase official gaming licenses from the state. Additionally, Arizona, Washington, Iowa, Louisiana have outright banned fantasy sports.


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