FLORIDA LAWMAKERS REJECT DAILY FANTASY SPORT AMENDMENT TO GAMBLING BILL
05th March, 2016 at 09:25:01
Representative Matt Gaeitz's attempt to define DFS as a skill game blocked by fellow lawmakers.
An attempt by Rep. Matt Gaetz to affix a daily fantasy sports amendment to a gambling bill before the House in Florida failed this week when other lawmakers blocked his move, and after a 90 minute argument he withdrew the measure.
Gaetz's amendment sought to define DFS as a skill game and therefore not subject to the state's gambling laws.
The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reports that Gaetz was blocked by legislators concerned about the measure's impact on a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. They also were reluctant to impose regulations on an unregulated activity and questioned whether a bill was even needed.
Speaking out strongly against the Gaetz bill, Rep. Carlos Trujillo from Miami claimed that the bill's intent was to mainstream fantasy sports as a common occurrence sanctioned by the state of Florida. That, he said, would lead to "the most expansive expansion of gambling that Florida has ever seen."
"This would allow Internet gambling. It would open the floodgates for all kinds of gambling in the state of Florida," Trujillo opined.
Other lawmakers noted that if DFS is online gambling, and was approved by the legislature, it could put in jeopardy the state's $400 million contribution from the Seminole tribe's gambling compact.
Rep. Mike Bileca, also from Miami, argued that the Gaetz proposal was a losing proposition for the state. In addition to the Seminole risk, Bileca said fantasy sports was a billion-dollar industry, yet the Gaetz measure wanted to price licenses at only $100,000.
For Gaetz it was another DFS failure; in an earlier effort a stand-alone bill he proposed failed to progress from the House Regulatory Affairs Committee, whilst a companion bill also stalled at committee stage in the state Senate.
With less than a week left in the 2016 state legislative season, there appears little likelihood of DFS making progress in Florida in the immediate future...and the industry is still under investigation by a federal grand jury in Tampa (see previous reports).
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