Alabama and Florida join US fantasy sports regulatory push

The new US legislative session has seen a number of state lawmakers propose daily fantasy sports (DFS) regulation, with Senators in Alabama and Florida the latest to file bills.
Republican Senator Thomas Whatley has introduced Senate Bill 28 in Alabama, the Fantasy Sports Contests Act, which would require DFS companies to register with the Secretary of State in order to conduct contests.

Operators would have to implement procedures for consumer protection and have their businesses audited, with their contests also exempt from the state's criminal penalties associated with gambling activity.
An as-yet unspecified licence application fee and annual renewal fee are to be paid by those applying for a licence, with this money to be deposited in the Fantasy Sports Fund. Companies will also be required to pay a $1m bond to the Secretary of State.

The Fantasy Sports Fund will be used for any expenses incurred by the Secretary of State through its regulation of DFS, with any remaining cash transferred to Alabama's General Fund at the end of each year.

Controls that are now standard in DFS regulation, such as banning DFS companies' employees or their families from entering contests, will also be enforced. Play will also be restricted to those aged 18 and over.

Having been introduced on January 30th, SB28 will have its first reading in the Alabama Senate on February 7th, before being referred to the legislative house’s Tourism and Marketing Committee.

Meanwhile in Florida, Senator Dana Young has introduced SB592, the Fantasy Contests Amusement Act. It aims to introduce a regulatory framework for DFS to "ensure public confidence in the integrity of fantasy contests and fantasy contest operators."

It defines such contests as games of skill, which do not constitute gambling, gaming or games of chance. The bill would create the Office of Amusements within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, under the supervision of a senior manager appointed by Florida’s Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation.

This new office will be responsible for the regulation of fantasy contests. All applicants will be required to pay a $500,000 fee, then an annual renewal fee of $100,000 or 10 per cent of entry fees collected by the operator that year.

Like the Alabama bill, SB592 introduces a number of consumer protection controls, with penalties of between $5,000 and $100,000 to be imposed for any violations.

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