From the Legal Hotline (1-877-NEWS-LAW)

From the Legal Hotline (1-877-NEWS-LAW)

Q. With the Seminole Tribe compact for sport betting in flux, we have been receiving inquiries from existing, out-of-state, sports betting sites about advertising on our digital site. Are you aware of any state laws prohibiting us from accepting this advertising? I do hear these sites advertising on sports radio stations in our market.

A. Despite some online sports betting being legally sanctioned in 2021 through a new compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state, the agreement was successfully challenged in federal court. This means authorization for digital platform sports betting activity is not currently sanctioned for Seminole Tribe betting–and continues to be illegal across the board in Florida. The case has been appealed, however, so it is best to stay informed about the outcome of that appeal. If the district court’s decision is reversed, sports betting through the Seminole Tribe will become legal.

In light of this, we would advise you against placing advertising for sports betting platforms where users place bets on the actual outcome of a real game or sports contest. In particular, we think ads for platforms that apparently only offer sports betting would be risky.

On the other hand, there is some grey area regarding the legality of online fantasy sports contests (where participants manage a fantasy or simulation “team” composed of real athletes from a professional sports organization that are not all playing on the same team or in the same game in real life). As a result, there may be more leeway for advertising these contests. For these sites offering fantasy sports contests (in addition to sports betting), there may be room to accept some advertising from them. However, keep in mind that even here the law is murky and you should keep up to date about any changes in regulation of fantasy sport betting.

I did not see anything directly relevant in the newly created Florida Gaming Control Commission’s first annual report. 022 http://WWW.FGCC.FL.GOV

Regarding horserace betting, this activity is legal (and considered different from general sports betting), and advertising for this type of gambling is permissible.

Q. If a government agency or private entity runs a notice in a newspaper that fails to meet required audience thresholds—what are the penalties or downsides?

A. There are no direct penalties, fines, or sanctions in Chapter 50 for failure to run the notices in a non-compliant newspaper. However, there are negative repercussions to both the advertiser and the newspaper for failure to publish the notices properly. For example, local governments that fail to use a qualified paper may have to re-publish any noncompliant notices, along with any associated delays and increased costs. Further, private citizens or entities who are adversely impacted by the actions set forth in noncompliant notices may have grounds to sue the government entity placing the faulty notice. Further, newspapers that do not qualify can be caught up in litigation by other newspapers that compete for the notices.

Q. Do you have any information about best practices in the placement of public notices and legal ads, whether they come from a local government or a private entity such as a bank or attorney? We value our public notice clients and would like to provide the best customer service possible.

A. Yes, here they are.

Q. I thought school board races were non-partisan–what are the rules about an ad that lists them as a member of a particular political party? In this case, the candidate ad refers to the local county party and includes its logo and there is a disclaimer.

A. An “advertisement of a candidate” cannot “state the candidate’s political party affiliation” and the nonpartisan candidate “cannot campaign based on party affiliation.” see s. 106.143(3), F.S. The Div. of Elections has said this means a nonpartisan candidate cannot publicly represent or advertise themselves as a member of any political party. However, a nonpartisan candidate may be endorsed by a political party and a political party may make an independent expenditure regarding a nonpartisan candidate.

Based on the above, this ad appears to be an ad placed by a party supporting a nonpartisan candidate. There is no direct representation by the candidate that they are a member of a party. Although the ad does seem to skirt the rule by using the party logo (and the party disclaimer at the bottom is a dead giveaway), I think the party/candidates could probably make the argument that they comply with the rule.