Next steps in Florida and California sports betting

Simona Boshkova | Published 1 Jun 2021, 11:10 a.m.

If you follow the news articles that we cover at SlotsWise, you’ll know that there are many US states that make progress in legalising sports betting. Florida and California are among them.

Recently, Florida lawmakers started a special session on sports betting, in order to determine the future of the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. It seems like they made a deal and now it’s up to the Office of Indian Gaming to decide.

California, on the other hand, has struggled with sports betting legalisation for a while. There were many delays and postponed hearings which have prolonged the process of legalisation. However, California voters will finally have their say on legal sports betting next year.

Florida sports betting bill signed into law

The final version of the gambling compact between the state and Seminole Tribe of Florida has passed both the state House and Senate in the special session that took place two weeks ago. The Florida sports betting bill was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. However, it needs to be approved by the US Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.

The Department of the Interior has 45 days to consider the new gambling compact. If the Office of Indian Gaming does not act within this period, the compact will automatically pass. Florida, with 21.45 million people, is now the biggest state to have legal sports betting.

If the Interior Department approves the compact, sports betting could begin as early as October 15 in Florida. It would be run by the Seminole Tribe, which would share 13.75% of its revenue from sports betting with the state. In addition, the compact allows up to 19 current pari-mutuel operators to operate sportsbooks through partnerships with the Tribe.

Furthermore, the gambling compact allows people of at least 21 years of age to be able to place bets on sports. They must be also located inside the state and bet on professional, collegiate, and motorsports events.

California sports betting initiative qualifies for 2022 ballot

In the meantime, it’s now official that California voters will decide whether to allow sports betting in the November 2022 ballot. 

The initiative to allow sports betting was written by Native American tribes that collected more than 1,000,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. It includes adding roulette, dice games and sports wagering at tribal casinos. Certification of the qualification of the vote is expected by June 30, 2022.

If voters approve, California would be able to offer the above-mentioned gaming services to the players. In addition, gaming agreements between the state and the tribes would have to be concluded and approved by the state legislature.

In addition to legalising sports betting at tribal casinos, the ballot would allow betting on pro, college or amateur events. However, online sports betting is not included in the proposal, while licenced horse-racing tracks would be allowed to have sports wagering onsite.

From what we know so far, there would be 10% tax profits from sports bets made at racetracks. The state will give 15% of the revenue to the California Department of Health for problem gambling research and prevention. Plus, the Bureau of Gambling Control would receive 15%, and the state General Fund would get the remaining 70%.