The future of fantasy sports in Florida remains uncertain
Capitol News Service: Mike Vaslinda, August 10, 2016
CHICAGO -- Fantasy sports leagues are a $150 billion per year industry nationwide, and Florida lawmakers at a national conference in Chicago are getting an earful from the industry.
Fans in Chicago can cheer on teams in every major professional sports league, but like Florida, betting on fantasy teams remains a murky part of state law.
The lack of regulation, especially for daily contests, is a hot topic nationally. The industry was giving lawmakers a full court press in the Windy City, hoping they will clear up the murky status of fantasy games.
“We don’t want to kill it before it has a chance to thrive,” says Jeremy Kudon, a lobbyist for FanDuel.
Steve Brubaker, with The Small Businesses of Fantasy Sports, says, “We’ll come talk to you about how that language should be structured.”
Legislation to regulate fantasy sports died in Florida earlier this year.
Florida’s legislation would have required an up front $500,000 registration fee, followed by an annual $100,000 renewal.
Florida’s failed proposal would have allowed wagering on amateur contests, and that’s a problem for many at the conference.
Maureen Riehl, of Multi States Associates, said, “Let the kids play the games they love without any undue influence. And because we consider this is similar to other kinds of sports betting, we really want to make sure the kids are protected.”
Miami State Representative Richard Stark was a bit taken aback by the hard push from the industry.
“Nationwide it's really the same questions we are dealing with in Florida. Is a special category of gaming different than everything else we have? Is it gaming or not gaming?” Rep. Stark said.
But for now, the fantasy games are unregulated in Florida. The bottom line? Bettor beware.
Only one of the nine states to legalize fantasy sports, Virginia, does not prohibit betting on amateur games.