Fantasy Sports Operators Claim DFS Bill Will Kill Florida Industry

Written By Derek Helling on May 17, 2021
DFS Lobbies Against FL

Fantasy sports operators are increasingly becoming part of regulated gambling landscapes in many US jurisdictions. The Sunshine State might become one such jurisdiction if a recently introduced Florida DFS bill becomes law.

However, potential licensees under the bill aren’t so thrilled about some of the tenets of the proposal. They say some of the provisions would effectively make operating in Florida too cost-prohibitive.

Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association decry FL bill

A trade association for fantasy sports operators, the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA), was among the first to voice displeasure. The FSGA points out how the proposed license fee of $1 million is exorbitant in comparison to industry standards. It also decries a roster differentiation requirement that is similarly not in keeping with established norms. Finally, the association opposes raising the legal age from 18 to 21. According to the association, the bill would “eliminate paid fantasy sports contests that millions of Floridians enjoy today.”

Here is the full statement from the organization:

The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) strongly opposes the current fantasy sports legislation proposed in Florida as it will eliminate paid fantasy sports contests that millions of Floridians enjoy today.

Senate Bill 16-A and House Bill 9A both contain clauses that are designed not to help the fantasy sports industry, but instead to place significant roadblocks for any operator, whether small or large, to offer contests in the state. Additionally, House Bill 11A requires an initial license application fee of $1 million, which would be 10 times larger than any other state license fee, and more than almost all current operators could afford, even for the large size of the Florida market. House Bill 9A mandates the use of at least seven athletes in five different events, an onerous requirement not seen in any other fantasy sports law and one that wouldn’t work with most contests offered across the country.

While the FSGA appreciates many of the consumer protection measures that are included in these bills, and has advocated for a law in Florida that confirms the legality of fantasy sports, the FSGA cannot support these bills without significant improvements. We ask that our member companies and millions of fantasy sports enthusiasts contact their legislators in Florida to let them know that their ability to play paid fantasy sports contests is in serious jeopardy.

One of the most prominent providers of both daily and season-long fantasy games, Yahoo!, threw its weight behind the FSGA statement with a condemning tweet. Other prominent DFS like DraftKings and FanDuel have yet to voice any opinion, but they are members of the FSGA.

It’s unclear how much lobbying power DFS companies have in Tallahassee. What is obvious, though, is their dissent. It also seems that the legislature will determine the fate of S 16 A this week. Both chambers will participate in a special session on gambling. S 16 A is on the docket for the session.

Photo by AP / Mike McCarn
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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