The Senate on Wednesday tacked language onto a professional deregulation bill that could lead to the expansion of certain kinds of slot machines.
The provision came under the guise of trying to move fantasy sports into the non-gambling realm before the end of the Legislative Session. Lawmakers failed to agree on comprehensive gambling legislation this year, ending their efforts Tuesday.
Though Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, raised a question as to whether the language was germane to the main bill, the amendment was adopted and the bill passed 36-0, sending it back to the House.
The first part of the amendment addresses fantasy sports, saying “winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants.” It also exempts fantasy sports play from state regulation, which companies like FanDuel and DraftKings favor.
But the second part of the amendment also authorizes certain veterans’ organizations to “conduct instant bingo.”
The language includes an allowance for “electronic tickets in lieu of … instant bingo paper tickets.”
That refers to what are known as “Class II gambling” bingo-style slot machines.
“Think of it like a scratch-off lottery ticket,” gambling blogger Greg Elder explained. “The tickets are sold and there are a certain number of winning tickets. The same holds true for Class II machines. They are programmed to pay off at certain times.”