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FanDuel calls on Florida fans to support fantasy sports

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

FanDuel, the national fantasy sports website, has sent a “call to action” email to its Florida users, asking them to contact lawmakers in support of their hobby.

“With the Big Game just around the corner, we have an important message to share with every Florida fantasy sports player,” the email says.

“A new bill has been introduced that would update Florida’s laws to recognize what we all know to be true—that fantasy sports are games of skill and should be kept legal for all eligible Floridians to enjoy,” it says.

A Senate committee on Wednesday is set to discuss a major gambling overhaul bill (SB 8) that, among other things, would expressly legalize fantasy sports play.

“The fact is that current laws have not kept pace with technology,” the FanDuel email says. “Unless legislators are willing to deny millions of Floridians the right to play America’s newest national pastime, they must act quickly to update the law by passing legislation that protects your right to play.”

A 2006 federal law banned online gambling but specifically exempted fantasy sports.

In Florida, however, a 1991 opinion by then-Attorney General Bob Butterworth says “operation of a fantasy sports league” violates state gambling law. Such opinions don’t have the force of law, but can be used to persuade judges.

The FanDuel email includes a link to a site where users can send a message to their state legislators to urge them to vote for this year’s bill.

Florida struggled with fantasy sports last legislative session, ultimately letting die a measure that would have explicitly legalized online fantasy play.

FanDuel and its rival, DraftKings, agreed late last year to merge amid increasing regulatory scrutiny. The merger requires federal approval.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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