Published: December 9, 2023

Florida Bill Would Legalize Fantasy Contests, Including Pick’Em

One Florida lawmaker is pushing a bill that would continue the latest trend in gambling and sports —

new legislation or regulation covering fantasy sports, which traditionally has been considered gray in the state.  

HB 679, introduced last week by Rep. Jason Shoaf, would put guardrails around fantasy, but contrary to the current trend, it would apparently legalize pick’em involving multiple players’ performances as well as traditional fantasy contests.

The pre-filed bill does not include a proposed tax rate.   Proposing to make fantasy fully legal and regulated, the bill comes months after Florida’s gaming commission sent a cease-and-desist letter to some fantasy operators in the state.

Through the fall, states across the nation have begun to take an increased interest in how fantasy contests are regulated.

Most recently, the California attorney general’s office began contemplating whether or not existing law prohibits fantasy contests while regulators in Michigan and New York banned pick’em-style contests.  

Florida sports betting has been a major storyline for the past few months, but particularly this week as the Seminole Tribe fully launched digital wagering Tuesday with its Hard Rock Bet platform. In addition to the sports betting app, the tribe began the tiered opening of its retail sportsbooks Thursday with a celebrity-laden event at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, near Fort Lauderdale.  

The tribe also began rolling out craps and roulette in its brick-and-mortar locations, as allowed by its 2021 compact with the state.

That compact is under fire in federal and state court. The tribe is well within the bounds of the compact and the law to begin offering in-person wagering and ball and dice games, but its digital sports betting monopoly is being challenged.


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