Daily Fantasy Sports Gambling Companies DraftKings and FanDuel begin Lobbying in Florida

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the growing industry of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and how more and more people are starting to recognize it as gambling. A typical fantasy game takes place over the course of a season and involves a great amount of skill to successfully play. However, when you draft and play with a new group of players each day, its simply a game of chance, especially when the same players can be selected by opposing players. So far, the industries two giants, DraftKings and FanDuel, have been able to continue providing daily gambling games with no regulations. However, the more and more that these fantasy “games” are exposed as gambling, the more likely that they will be treated as gambling, complete with legislation and regulations. As a result of the negative attention, the two companies are looking to proactively lobby key jurisdictions and locations as a way to prevent the necessary regulation against them. An online source explains why they have started their lobbying in Florida:

DraftKings, FanDuel, and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) will start lobbying Florida government officials to guard the legal status of daily fantasy sports in the state, as first reported at *SaintPetersBlog.com.

FSTA chairman Peter Schoenke* confirmed the retention of Ballard to Legal Sports Report and outlined the reasons behind the move.

“We continue to boost the FSTA’s resources in states with a large number of fantasy sports players to ensure that residents there can continue to fully play fantasy sports,” Schoenke said. “And certainly there’s an added benefit with both CBS and FanDuel and several more fantasy sports companies having operations in the state.” 

Beyond simply seeing the Florida landscape as being one with a rich, existing, gambling player base, and beyond the fact that there are some key organizations located directly in Florida, there is another key reason to begin efforts in Florida, even before legislation is being proposed to regulate this new industry: The online source continues: 

Daniel Wallach an attorney who is an expert on the intersection of sports law and gaming law for Becker & Poliakoff (based in Florida), penned an article entitled “Florida’s Uncertain Legal Landscape for Fantasy Sports: A Closer Look” in June.

Wallach notes in his opinion that, unlike most states, the legality of DFS under Florida law does not hinge on its status as a “skill game.” Without rehashing Wallach’s legal analysis in full, it can be illegal to operate game of skills for money, as well, depending on a number of factors, including “correlation between the entry fees and prizes awarded.”

There actually are no laws that address fantasy sports directly in Florida, and the legal status of DFS could depend largely on an attorney general’s opinion from 1991, if challenged in court.

In fact, Wallach notes that the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission actually referred to the Florida AG opinion in its initial stance, saying DFS constituted an “illegal lottery.” Earlier this year, however, Kansas passed a bill legalizing fantasy sports for money, rendering the KRGC stance moot. 

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