Florida lawmakers started special session on sports betting

Simona Boshkova | Published 18 May 2021, 10:53 a.m.

If you thought that there’s nothing to update for the sports betting market in the US, you’re wrong. There, the number of states that legalise sports betting is constantly increasing.

Recently we’ve reported that two bills coming from Louisiana have proceeded to the Senate. If the bills pass into law, we’ll see legal sports betting through mobile apps and physical sportsbooks. Another state that could see legal sports betting soon is Ohio. If the preliminary legislation passes into law, Ohio could allow up to 20 online and 20 retail licences.

Florida is also among the US states that are likely to legalise sports betting in near future. If you remember, last month we reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new compact between the state and Seminole Tribe of Florida. Well, yesterday, the Florida lawmakers started a special session to decide if sports betting along will happen in the state.

The largest US state to have legal sports betting

Yesterday, the Florida legislature started a special session where lawmakers are discussing the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. On the session, lawmakers will be voting whether to accept the compact. In addition, they will be drafting support bills to determine how sports betting will work in Florida.

If the series of proposed bills are approved, Florida will become the largest US state to have legal sports betting. In addition, if everything goes as planned, Florida will have legal sports betting no earlier than October 15.

Any sports betting deal that Florida concludes with the Seminole Tribe must be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). It’s the regulatory structure for Indian gaming in the United States. Furthermore, the deal will automatically pass into law if the NIGC does not reject it within 45 days.

The agenda for the special session

Before the special session started, senate president Wilton Simpson posted the agenda that includes nine pieces of legislation. As it was announced, four companion bills were filed in the House. The special session is scheduled to take place during the whole week.

One of the bills refers to the approval of the already proposed gaming compact between the state and Seminole Tribe. As we have already mentioned, the compact should run for 30 years and it was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Tribe last month.

Another bill is for the creation of the Florida Gaming Control Commission that will take care of all gaming operations in the state. In addition, the bill foresees setting aside enough funds to pay Commission’s members.

Furthermore, the compact includes calls for the operation of sports betting within Florida through servers based on Indian lands. That’s why the compact needs to be approved by the NIGC. Regardless of whether sports betting will be legal within the Tribe or other licences are approved, it will be allowed to players over 21 years of age, located within the state.

Of course, the gaming compact in Florida has a long way to go before becoming a law. For that reason, we will keep you updated on the outcomes of the special session. Hopefully, we’ll see positive results.

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