New Bill Proposed in Florida Defines Daily Fantasy Sports Contests

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Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are a popular form of online gaming that allows players to create and compete in fantasy contests based on the performance of real athletes. However, the legal status of DFS in Florida has been unclear for many years, as the state has yet to regulate or authorize the industry explicitly. A new bill, introduced by Representative Jason Shoaf on November 30, 2023, aims to change that by providing a clear definition and requirements for DFS in Florida.

Florida Defines Daily Fantasy Sports Contests

What Does the Bill Say?

The bill, known as HB 679, is a short bill outlining key specifics about the DFS industry in Florida. Elements of the bill include:

  1. Fantasy contests are defined as games of skill, not games of chance, and are exempted from the state’s gambling laws.
  2. The Fantasy contests must be based on the statistical results of multiple real-world sporting events and cannot be based on the score, point spread, or performance of a single team or individual athlete.
  3. Fantasy contests must have predetermined prize pools and payout structures and cannot be influenced by the number of participants, or the amount of fees paid by the participants.
  4. Fantasy contest operators must verify that the participants are at least 18 years old and must prevent employees, relatives, and affiliates from participating in the contests or sharing confidential information.
  5. The Fantasy contest operators must implement measures to protect the privacy and security of the participant’s personal and financial information and must report any data breaches to the state authorities.
  6. Fantasy contest operators must use commercially reasonable methods to prevent cheating, fraud, and conspiracy and must maintain records of all transactions and contests for at least three years.
  7. Fantasy contest operators must pay an annual registration fee of $500,000 to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and must submit to audits and inspections by the department.
  8. The Fantasy contest operators who violate the provisions of the bill are subject to civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation and may have their registration suspended or revoked by the department.

Why Is the Bill Important?

The bill is important because it would clarify the legal status of DFS in Florida and would provide a framework for the regulation and oversight of the industry. Currently, DFS operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings offer their services in Florida without any official authorization or supervision, relying on a legal opinion from 1991 that stated that fantasy sports are not gambling under Florida law. However, this opinion needs to be updated to address the modern features and challenges of DFS, such as online platforms, live betting, and data security.

The bill would also benefit the DFS operators, the participants, and the state. The operators would gain legal certainty and legitimacy and would be able to operate in a large and lucrative market. The participants would gain consumer protection and fair play and would be able to enjoy their hobby without fear of legal repercussions. The state would gain tax revenue and economic activity and would be able to monitor and enforce the industry standards.

The bill is not the first attempt to legalize DFS in Florida, as previous bills have been introduced in 2016, 2018, and 2022, but they have yet to pass the legislature3. However, the bill may have a better chance of success this time, as the state has recently approved a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, which explicitly defines and recognizes DFS as games of skill, not games of chance. The compact, which was ratified by the legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021, also grants the tribe the exclusive right to offer sports betting in Florida but does not affect the DFS industry.


The bill is expected to be assigned to a committee for further review and debate and may face opposition from some lawmakers and groups who are concerned about the social and moral impacts of DFS. However, the bill also has the potential to gain support from many stakeholders and fans who are eager to see DFS legalized and regulated in Florida.