Prior to last week, no legislation regulating daily fantasy sports had been passed anywhere in the United States.
As of Tuesday afternoon, two bills are moving forward in the legislative process after a bill that would make daily fantasy sports clearly legal in Florida—as well as institute hefty licensing and regulatory fees—passed a committee vote.
HB 707 passed with a 10-3 vote in the Florida Hours of Representatives’ Business and Professions subcommittee and now moves to the Regulatory Affairs committee. Last week, a similar bill was passed in a California Assembly committee.
Neither piece of legislation appears to be a finished product; many those voting in favor voiced reservations about the bills in their current forms. The Florida bill would exclude fantasy sports from the state’s gambling laws, but some lawmakers expressed concerns about its lack of regulatory teeth.
Bill sponsor Matt Gaetz indicated that he plans to amend HB 707 to include background checks for DFS operators and repercussions for operators that fail to abide by applicable laws.
“My belief is that if we pass this bill in this format, that we will become a model for the country,” Gaetz said. “And we will show the country how to appropriately deal with fantasy contests.”
From an operator perspective, the inclusion of $500,000 licensing fees and $100,000 annual renewal fees are problematic, at least for the smaller sites.
#DFS Discussion in Florida turns to the $500K fee, which they would use to support their regulatory efforts. Very high. Barrier to entry.
— Andrew Feldman (@AFeldmanESPN) January 12, 2016
Similar legislation has also been filed by Florida’s Senate President Joe Negron, who recently told SaintPetersBlog.com, “due to a dated Attorney General opinion, there is a need to clarify in Florida law that fantasy sports are legal, as well as institute commonsense regulations that protect consumers. I believe the legislation that Representative Matt Gaetz and I filed will do just that – keeps fantasy sports legal and protects consumers.”
SB 832 was formally introduced on Tuesday and has been referred to the Regulated Industries committee.