With the industry facing legal challenges in other states, a Florida House panel Tuesday will take up a bill that would shield fantasy sports from possibly being considered illegal gambling in Florida.
The House Business & Professions Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 707), filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, that includes regulations for the industry — but makes clear the games would not be subject to Florida’s gambling laws.
In fantasy sports, participants choose “teams” by compiling lists of actual athletes. The winners of fantasy-sports contests are determined by comparing the statistics of the athletes. The industry in recent months has faced questions about its legality amid the rapid growth of online daily fantasy sports games. Officials in states such as Nevada, New York and Illinois have said they view daily fantasy sports as illegal forms of gambling — a position the industry vehemently disputes.
The Florida House bill, if passed, would make clear that a chapter of state law that deals with gambling “does not apply” to fantasy sports contests. Also, the bill would define fantasy sports and set out a series of regulations.
“All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the players and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals, including athletes in the case of sporting events,” the bill says. “Winning outcomes are not based on the score, point spread, or any performance of any single actual sports team or combination of such teams or solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single actual sporting event.”