Florida to legalise sports betting this year

Simona Boshkova | Published 27 Apr 2021, 9:24 a.m.

If you follow the articles that we cover at SlotsWise, you’ll know that the sports betting market in the United States is expanding. More and more states go towards legalising sports betting and offering various services to the bettors.

Among the latest US states that legalised sports betting is Arizona, whose Governor signed sports betting and fantasy sports legislation into law. In addition, New York officially passed sports betting, aiming to generate $500 million in revenue.

Now it’s time for Florida, where sports betting is closer to legalisation. On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new compact between the state and Seminole Tribe of Florida. This will determine the future of sports betting in the state.

Expanding Florida’s economic opportunities

According to the local reports in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced a 30-year gaming compact. This means that Florida will probably allow legal sports betting through casinos run by the Seminole Tribe if the proposal is allowed by the state legislature.

The deal will see the Tribes opening three new casinos on their land and have control over the sports betting activities in Florida. However, the compact still has some way to go before the end of the state’s legislature regular session, which ends April 30. The signed deal is now moved to the Florida legislature, where a special session will be held in May.

In a statement, DeSantis said that the sports betting compact will expand Florida’s economic opportunities. He added that the agreement establishes the framework for generating billions in the new revenue and creating a positive economic impact.

Furthermore, Senate President Wilton Simpson said that the compact creates a $2.5 billion revenue-sharing guarantee in the first five years, and 6 billion in new revenues through 2030. He explained that sports betting issues were addressed for almost a decade and it’s time for Florida to maximise revenue and provide new opportunities.

Florida has about 2.5 million population so it would be the largest state with legal sports betting market. As we’ve mentioned above, New York, which is another large state, is in the process of legalising sports betting. California and Texas have higher populations but they have not legalised sports betting so far.

What does the compact include?

Right after the announcement of the gaming compact between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, a couple of details were released. Namely, the compact has been concluded for 30 years and will see craps and roulette at Seminole casinos. In addition, sports betting will be allowed on all professional, college and Olympic sport.

According to the compact, people under the age of 21 would be allowed to bet in Florida. The Seminole Tribe will have control of sports betting and will be able to offer it at its own casinos, as well as through its platform known as Hard Rock Digital.

At the moment, it’s unknown how many sportsbooks will be allowed in Florida and what the tax rate would be. It’s expected that the state’s pari-mutuel operators will run mobile sports betting sites and would have to share a certain % of the revenue with the Tribe.

To officially legalise sports betting, Florida needs to go through certain processes. Now, the legislature needs to approve the compact in the special session. Then, the federal government’s U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs needs to approve it and post it to the Federal Register.

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