Florida is a key “grey state” for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) – and something of a key legal battleground, with online gaming dreamers coming up against the reality of opposition from existing gambling operators. In Florida, the Seminole Tribe has near-exclusive control of gambling rights – and regards DFS with suspicion. But, despite the possibility of legal issues, many fantasy sports websites accept players from the Sunshine State.
It is possible to play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Miami – and across Florida as a whole – though the legal status of DFS in the State has long been debated and probably best falls into the “it’s complicated” category.
That may seem unusual for a State that makes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from legalised gambling – via dog racing, poker rooms, jai alai, bingo, bowling tournaments and casinos run by the Seminole Tribe.
But, in 1991, then-Florida Attorney General Rob Butterworth published a legal opinion that paid-for fantasy sports should be considered illegal. That advisory opinion – long before the age of online DFS – is the last from a Florida Attorney General. When the subject has come up, subsequent AGs have deferred to a US Attorney’s office.
In practice, most DFS operators – including FanDuel, Draftkings, Yahoo! and Fantasy Draft accept players from Florida. And some – notably CBS’ SportsLine.com and FanDuel, which took over Zynga Sports 365 in Orlando – have actively increased their presence.
Despite the apparent acceptance of DFS in Florida, its status is far from secure. In 2015 DraftKings, FanDuel and the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association took the unusual step of seeking to confirm and protect the legal status of fantasy sports in the State.
Several attempts have followed to ratify the legal status of DFS, without success – due in part to the influence of the Seminole Tribe, which in December 2017 publicly warned that efforts to legalise DFS in Florida would violate an agreement dating back to 2010.
The influential Tribe, which pays more than USD 200million a year in return for exclusive rights to gambling in the State, decided to make public its opposition to pro-DFS legislation ahead of three gambling bills in 2018.
Until lawmakers in Florida change gaming laws to take the question of DFS’ legality out of the equation, this question will remain.
DFS games operate in Florida. So, what sites are available?
- Yahoo Fantasy Sports by choice does not operate in Florida.