DraftKings And FanDuel Put Aside Rivalry To Lobby In Florida
The pace at which the daily fantasy sports market is growing has got many dubbing it as the gold rush of the gambling world. All our regular readers are well aware of the phenomenal growth of this sector led mainly until now by DraftKings and FanDuel who are both already valued at more than $1 billion. Recently other global powerhouses like Yahoo have thrown their hat in the DFS arena followed by Amaya Gaming. The list of investors in this sector has made it clear that this is seen as one of the most lucrative niches in gambling for the foreseeable future.
Currently DFS is allowed to operate in most U.S. states except for five due to the fact that it falls under a game of skill and not luck and is therefore not subject to the legal restrictions of online gambling. However this status quo is not cemented in law in all states and the major players like DraftKings and FanDuel are looking to avoid any overzealous lawmaker looking to make a name for themselves by restricting daily fantasy sports in their state.
An example of this is in the state of Florida. Here DraftKings, FanDuel and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) have joined forces to begin lobbying state officials in Florida to protect the current legal status of the DFS industry in the state. According to the SaintPetersBlog.com website most DFS operators already offer their services in Florida despite the lack of active or pending legislation on the legality of daily fantasy sports. DFS sites have an active presence in Florida with CBS launching their SportsLine.com product as well as FanDuel taking over the Zynga Sports 365 facility in Orlando.
Both FanDuel and DraftKings have put aside their rivalry and joined forces with the FSTA by retaining the services of Ballard Partners. FSTA Chairman Peter Schoenke said, “We continue to boost the FSTA’s resources in states with a large number of fantasy sports players to ensure that residents there can continue to fully play fantasy sports. And certainly there’s an added benefit with both CBS and FanDuel and several more fantasy sports companies having operations in the state.”
Legal experts like Daniel Wallach who specializes in sports and gaming law in Florida have warned that there is the possibility of an aggressive state prosecutor deciding to clamp down on DFS operations. Wallach said, “Although there have been no criminal prosecutions of fantasy sports operators or participants (or alleged aiders and abetters) since the issuance of AGO 91-3, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that an aggressive state prosecutor could seek to target the industry, which has changed dramatically since 1991. As more money flows into fantasy sports and the character of the games begin to more closely resemble gambling, rather than an informal social game, the risk of a criminal prosecution heightens. As unlikely as that may seem to many, all it takes is one aggressive prosecutor or attorney general to jeopardise Florida’s lucrative and established fantasy sports market.”