Joe Negron and Richard Corcoran not yet in agreement about daily fantasy sports

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Richard Corcoran, who will be Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives at the same time Joe Negron is Senate President (2016-18), has said he knows “that, together, we can bring a new spirit of partnership to the Florida Legislature.”

But the two also have differences of opinion on how to handle major policy issues of the day. Take fantasy sports, for instance.

In fantasy sports, “players act as owners to draft teams that compete against each other based on the performance of real-world athletes,” as State Legislatures magazine recently explained. “An estimated 56.8 million North Americans will participate this year, and each will spend around $465.”

But is it gambling? Nevada has banned daily fantasy games as other states, including New York are considering its legality. The U.S. Justice Department also is investigating.

Negron, a Stuart Republican, says lawmakers “should respect the entertainment decisions that our constituents make,” and that fantasy sports “is a contest based on skill.”

He’s sponsoring a bill to regulate daily fantasy sports websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel, but also to clarify that they’re legal.

“It’s no different than a bowling league … and the winning team gets a prize,” he told Florida Politics in an interview.

Corcoran isn’t so sure. In a separate interview, the Land O’ Lakes Republican said “the state should move forward very judiciously, as opposed to get engaged and take a position that wasn’t necessary.”

But being slow to act has tripped up the Legislature before, as with Internet cafes. In 2013, a multistate illegal gambling investigation finally resulted in lawmakers banning the strip-mall casinos.

In any event, neither man said he participates in fantasy sports play.

Longer interviews with both will be in the next issue of INFLUENCE magazine.

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.