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Florida to Debate Bill in 2024 to Legalize Fantasy Sports Contests

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Jason Shoaf, the Republican Representative of Florida, has introduced a bill for debate in 2024 that would see fantasy sports competitions in the state become legal.

Shoaf has filed HB 679, ready for the next session in the legislature, which starts in January next year. There is confusion in the state over the legality of Fantasy Sports competitions, which some people have defined as gambling. Earlier this year, the Attorney General of Florida sent several smaller operators of these sports competitions a cease-and-desist letter warning them they were breaching gaming legislation.

However, one of the issues noted at the time was that FanDuel and DraftKings, who are the biggest operators of Fantasy Sports competitions in Florida, were not issued desist notices and have carried on operating in the state. Most stakeholders in the industry feel this issue should be clarified and think this bill may achieve this.

Proposed Bill Outlines Fantasy Sports Guidelines

The proposed Bill has tried to outline what constitutes a valid Fantasy Sports Competition, and it is hoped that this will clear up some of the ambiguity that currently surrounds the market. This starts with a broad definition of fantasy sports.

A contest in which a participant pays an entry fee and manages a fantasy or simulation sports team composed of athletes from a professional sports organization with the opportunity to win a cash prize.

Fantasy Sports definitionHB 679

The framework of rules for a fantasy sports contest lists that the prize pool for the competition must be known at the start of the contest.

The contest should reflect the skill and knowledge of the player, and any winning outcome should reflect this. Any winning outcome should reflect the accumulative total of a player's skill and knowledge. Competition results should be based on the performance of at least 2 players but less than an entire team.

An important guideline on the list is that college sports will be prohibited from being included in any fantasy sports competition. The proposed new legislation also includes the punishment for live casinos and gaming operators who breach these guidelines. It states that anyone who breaks these rules should face a misdemeanor charge and expect to be handed a $1,000 fine.

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