DFS Progresses In Florida And A Sports Betting/DFS Convergence Is Occurring In AC

Written By Steve Ruddock on May 5, 2017 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
DFS advances Florida

The legislative clock is ticking on DFS bills in several key states.

Florida’s DFS bill flatlined on Tuesday only to be resurrected on Wednesday after DFS language worked its way into a larger piece of legislation.

DFS legalization efforts in Texas could receive a shot in the arm, as a beloved sports star is expected to start lobbying for legalization.

An ESPN Chalk story highlights how companies are artfully maneuvering around PASPA by bringing pseudo-sports betting products to market.

DFS legislation update

Florida and Texas: feathers in the industry’s cap

Of all the states still considering DFS legislation, Florida and Texas are arguably the most important.

Not only are they among the most populous in the nation, but both states have somewhat negative legal climates for DFS. In Texas the attorney general said DFS was gambling, and in Florida the AG has deferred to the US Attorney’s office.

Romo to the rescue in Texas?

Texas could get a boost from Tony Romo. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is reportedly going to be lobbying in favor of the state’s DFS bill in Austin.

Even with Romo, DFS has a tough climb in the notoriously anti-gambling Lone Star State.

Florida could legalize DFS without regulating it

Meanwhile, in Florida, DFS legalization appeared to be dead and buried, until an unrelated bill was amended by the Senate to include some vague DFS language.

According to Legal Sports Report, the DFS language in the Florida bill may not be what it seems. It doesn’t regulate DFS, and is linked with other gaming expansion efforts.

DFS updates around the country

Panning out from the goings on in Florida and Texas, there were several other pieces of positive movement on the DFS front this week:

  • A new bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. But a comprehensive gaming reform bill continues to be the most likely path for DFS.
  • No official announcements have come out of Montpellier, but there’s local chatter indicating Vermont’s DFS bill is gaining momentum.
  • A DFS bill passed by the Alabama House of Representatives was amended in committee and is now being considered by the Senate.

The DFS bill tally

The number of states that have introduced legislation seeking to legalize DFS in 2017 still stands at 24. The number of states with active legislation is 20:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Hawaii
  7. Illinois
  8. Iowa
  9. Kentucky
  10. Maine
  11. Minnesota
  12. Montana
  13. Nebraska
  14. New Jersey
  15. New Hampshire
  16. North Carolina
  17. Ohio
  18. Oregon
  19. Pennsylvania
  20. Rhode Island
  21. Texas
  22. Vermont
  23. Washington
  24. Maine

Legal Sports Report’s legislative tracker has up-to-the-minute updates on all DFS legislation.

Sports betting legalization update

All eyes on the Solicitor General

Sports betting legislation has been in a veritable holding pattern, waiting for the Solicitor General to weigh in on New Jersey’s sports betting appeal.

The SG was asked to opine on the matter before the Supreme Court decides if it will hear the case.

New products attempt to blur the lines

But not everyone is content to wait it out.

A recent story in ESPN Chalk details how sports betting ban or not, new products are emerging that blend sports betting and fantasy sports. This could allow them to skirt PASPA.

According to the article, Resorts Casino in Atlantic City is in the process of deploying such a product in its iGaming Lounge. With the casino industry struggling to integrate DFS products, this could be an important development.

Sports betting legislation

Eight states are fighting for a repeal of PASPA, or pre-committing to legalizing sports betting if federal sports betting laws were to change:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Michigan
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Carolina
  8. West Virginia
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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is a veteran of the gambling industry, having been a longtime contributor to numerous publications both online and off centered on the regulated US online gambling industry. Steve is based in Massachusetts.

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