The line between daily fantasy sports (DFS) apps and sports betting has become blurred over the past few years.
Florida lawmakers will consider making the issue black and white after Rep. Jason Shoaf submitted a bill (HB679) to the Florida House of Representatives that sets hard boundaries for what is and isn’t legal sports betting.
Why the Florida DFS bill matters
Sports betting and DFS have provided plenty of regulatory entertainment in Florida over the past few years. Sports betting launched for two weeks in 2021 via Hard Rock Bet before a lawsuit from West Flagler Associates — a Florida parimutuel betting operator — brought it to a halt.
That lawsuit dragged on with little clarity until this past month when the Supreme Court struck down West Flagler’s challenge.
As a result, Hard Rock Bet relaunched its sports betting app in the Sunshine State this past month—but only for existing customers from its 2021 launch.
That’s an important development because it brings into question the validity of some of the games included in DFS and fantasy sports apps. Popular DFS and fantasy sports apps like Prize Picks and Sleeper allow users to deposit money and make bets on player performance.
For example, Sleeper users can gamble on play prop bets as long as they parlay at least two bets.
It’s highly likely that the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the group that has exclusive rights over Florida sports betting thanks to a compact signed with the state in 2021, does not like the competition that DFS and fantasy sports apps provide.
Sports betting operators in New York and Michigan don’t like it, which is why legislators in both states moved to pass laws prohibiting bets commonly offered in non-sportsbook apps.
And it’s in the wake of Hard Rock Bet launching for a second time that Shoaf’s bill emerged.
Does Florida’s DFS bill legalize prop-style parlays?
The language of the Florida DFS bill (HB679) seems to protect the right of DFS apps to offer player props. That is, as long as the props are parlayed (more than one player prop is included in a bet).
The bill requires DFS apps to offer contests that include the statistical performance of “more than one individual” and are based on a “winning outcome.”
It goes on to clarify that a “winning outcome” would not be allowed to be based on:
- Scores, point spreads, and performance of “a team or combination of teams”
- One player’s performance in one event
- Collegiate, high school, or youth sporting events
In other words, DFS and fantasy sports apps can not offer player props based on a single player’s performance. However, it seemingly does allow apps to offer parlay bets in which a user selects more than one individual player’s performance.
What the bill means for Florida sports betting
The uncertainty of Florida’s sports betting future makes it hard to predict how this bill will turn out.
But, let’s say sports betting moves forward in Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida faces no further lawsuits. The company’s sports betting division, Hard Rock Bet, would do a full launch and spend a considerable amount of money acquiring new customers through promos and discounted odds.
Hard Rock Bet’s rise to dominance would hamper fantasy sports apps’ efforts to generate revenue through parlay-style bets the new bill would allow.