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Florida Gaming Control Commission Cracks Down on Fantasy Sports Operators

The Florida Gaming Control Commission has issued cease-and-desist letters to several daily fantasy sports operators, alleging their involvement in potential illegal sports betting activities. 



Florida Regulators Challenge Legality of Fantasy Sports Activities



The letters were directed at Underdog Sports , PrizePicks , and Betr , the latter being a venture backed by internet celebrity-turned-boxer Jake Paul . These letters, signed by Louis Trombetta, the Executive Director of the Florida Gaming Control Commission , raised concerns about the legality of these operators’ activities in the state of Florida.



“I am hereby demanding you immediately cease and desist offering or accepting bets or wagers from residents of this state on the results of any contests of skill such as sports betting,” Trombetta wrote in the letters. Failure to comply with these demands could result in the matter being referred to the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution , he added.



An attorney representing the targeted companies expressed their commitment to working with the commission to ensure that their customers can continue to enjoy fantasy sports contests. However, the Commission’s move appears to have broader implications than initially thought. Emails obtained by the News Service of Florida suggest that the legal conclusions of these letters apply to all forms of paid fantasy sports contests, potentially affecting companies like Underdog Sports that offer various types of fantasy games.



Emerging Fantasy Sports Ventures Hit Roadblocks in Florida



This crackdown comes at a pivotal time as the football season gains momentum, potentially impacting season-long fantasy sports. Furthermore, despite ongoing legal battles concerning the Seminole Tribe’s exclusive rights to offer sports betting in Florida, the Commission’s stringent stance seems to extend to other forms of wagering. 



Trombetta’s letters explicitly state that, under Florida law, sports betting can only be conducted pursuant to a gaming compact, similar to the one signed with the Seminole Tribe in 2021 .



Jeremy Levine, the Founder of Underdog Sports , vehemently contested the allegations, asserting that their products align with the legal definition of a fantasy sports contest and are skill-based, not reliant on chance. Levine even took to social media to suggest that this scrutiny was “directly fueled” by industry giants DraftKings and FanDuel , who notably did not receive cease-and-desist letters.



While industry behemoths remain untouched, emerging players like Betr , which recently launched a micro-betting-focused app , now find their Florida plans stifled by the new regulatory actions. Founded in 2022 by Joey Levy and Jake Paul, Betr aimed to revolutionize the traditional betting experience and expand to select states, contingent on regulatory approval.

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