CBS12 Investigates: Critics question legality of daily fantasy sports websites
WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) —
They brand themselves as an avenue for daily fantasy sports with quick cash and big payouts.
Critics like Alfred O’Hara charge the fantasy sports websites are operating out of bounds. O’Hara owns Fantasy Sports-r-us, a fantasy sports keeper league he's run out of
his Boca Raton home since 2002. He describes his business as entertainment. "Nobody is getting rich off of this. There's no real money involved," he said.
Much different he says from daily fantasy sports websites. Sites like FanDuel and Draftkings where hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing for fantasy football.
Participants pay money to pick teams of real life pro-players they hope will produce a big payday.
Critics say that's a lot like gambling and begs the question, is it legal in the state of Florida?
We contacted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office to ask. They started off saying they are not allowed to give legal opinions and then gave us one. A 25-year-old
legal opinion that states, "fantasy sports leagues whereby contestants pay a fee" "would violate" Florida gambling laws. And paying a fee to play is exactly what
contestants on those sites must do to keep playing. A legal opinion that appears to be only as valid as the paper it's written on. “We're talking about professional
players that make a living on there. This is not fantasy sports," O’Hara said.
Marc La Vorgna, a, spokesperson for FanDuel and DraftKings sent CBS 12 this statement: "Fantasy sports is legal under Florida law as a game of skill, where participants
win or lose the same way real-life General Managers for the Dolphins or Heat do -- by having the skill to select the best possible team. But the state's laws do need to
be updated to reflect changes in technology and the evolution of fantasy sports, and we are continuing to discuss with lawmakers and regulators the best way to address
this issue to ensure fantasy sports remain legal for the millions of Floridians who enjoy it."