News and Analysis
Cease-and-Desist Orders for Florida DFS Sites
This week, the Florida Gaming Control Commission has sent cease and desist letters to Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Betr, all of which are daily fantasy sports (DFS) platforms operating in Florida. According to the Florida Regulatory Watch, which broke the news, the letters stated:
"Under Florida law, betting or wagering on the result of contests of skill, such as sports betting, including fantasy sports betting, is strictly prohibited and constitutes a felony offense unless such activity is otherwise exempted by statute."
"Accordingly, in Florida, sports betting may be lawfully conducted only pursuant to a gaming compact. …Further, receiving such illegal bets and wagers and aiding or abetting such criminal activities constitute separate felony offenses."
Underdog sought further clarification from the FGCC, who confirmed that all forms of DFS betting were classed as illegal. However, both DraftKings and Fanduel, who also offer this service in Florida, have not been contacted.
Multiple DFS operators have hired attorney John Lockwood, who said, "The commission staff confirmed to me that the language in the letter broadly applies to all paid fantasy sports contests, and they are not aware of any paid fantasy sports company operating legally in Florida. We disagree on the merits and will be working with the commission and potentially the Legislature so we can ensure Florida sports fans can continue to play,"
PointsBet Gets $25,000 Fine for Illegal Bets
This week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued PointsBet with a $25,000 civil penalty for allowing unauthorized wagers. The sanction is related to three different occurrences:
- The first was a college basketball game at St Peter's University in May 2022 (betting on college games is not allowed in NJ). Betting was offered for 55 minutes with two bets placed. When the operator released the error, the market was closed, and the bets were canceled. PB has accounted for this as human error.
- The second case occurred in 2021 when the operator allowed betting on a League of Legends World Championship event featuring a player 17 years of age (for legal betting, participants must be at least 18).
- The last case pertains to an English Championship game between Cardiff and Millwall in 2021, where bets were allowed to be placed when the game's outcome was already known. According to the operator, the error was caused by communication issues with a third-party data provider they were using.
MGCB Destroys Illegal Gambling Machines
The MGCB has destroyed over 1,195 illegal gaming machines collected from 2015-2023 to prevent them from being resold or reused. According to MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams, "Illegal gaming continues to pose a threat to Michigan citizens and their communities, as it often leads to an increase in organized criminal activity, financial exploitation, and other related social issues.
Unregulated gaming machines also result in a loss of state revenue. Operators running illegal gaming establishments are not reporting earnings or paying taxes — they are essentially robbing Michigan citizens of taxes and revenue used to support our schools through the School Aid Fund and our communities and local governments with essential state funding dollars."
American Gaming Association research has shown that nearly 40% of gaming machines in the USA are unlicensed. Destroying machines removes them from circulation while sending a clear message regarding illegal gambling operations in the state.
Las Vegas Threatens to Strike
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, things are heating up between workers and employers as hospitality staff threaten to strike, potentially bringing the world-famous strip to a standstill. 95% of the 60,000 members of the Bartenders Union Local 165 and Culinary Workers Union Local 226 approved strike action after negotiations for higher wages and more safety protections didn't result in their favor.
Negotiations with major US gambling brands began last year after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerability of Las Vegas hospitality staff. While there's no strike date yet, the major resorts involved (including Caesars, MGM, and Wynn) will likely bring a better offer to the table before one occurs.
Slot Game of the Week
Blobsters Clusterbuster, Red Tiger, RTP 95.7%
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