Florida sports betting, which was once a distant fantasy, might become a reality this year.
In May 2021, the Florida legislature adopted a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe and the state government. This agreement sets the path for legal sports betting in Florida, but it faces a number of legal hurdles.
According to estimates, the market might theoretically have opened on October 15. It is most likely not to open until December however.
While most states have public legislative proceedings, sports betting negotiations in Florida took place almost exclusively behind closed doors. Any agreement for sports betting in Florida would need the negotiation of a wider gaming agreement between the state and the tribe.
That is what happened in April 2021. Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new agreement with the Seminole to introduce statewide mobile wagering to the Sunshine State. In May 2021, state lawmakers accepted the agreement. In August 2021, the federal Department of the Interior permitted the compact to proceed without express permission.
This action will almost certainly send concerns about the definition of mobile sports betting under tribal gaming legislation to the courts. Local organizations are also suing the state of Florida over sports betting. They say that it violates a constitutional amendment that requires voter consent.
On or before October 12, the Secretary of the Interior and the Department of the Interior will file their response to the first lawsuit.
Is it legal to gamble on sports in Florida?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Florida. In early 2021, state authorities and the Seminole Tribe agreed on an agreement that may bring statewide mobile Florida sports betting to the Sunshine State soon. The Department of the Interior permits the tribe agreement that would legalize FL sports betting to be published in the Federal Register in August. This is not permission but enables the compact to proceed.
However, there are currently no legal possibilities for sports betting in Florida. This may change as early as the later half of 2021. But only if legal barriers and multiple litigation are resolved at that time.
The legality of sports betting in Florida
Sports betting in Florida looks to be on the verge of becoming a reality. Sports betting is prohibited in Florida for the time being. This despite the fact that state legislators authorized a new gaming agreement between the state government and the tribe that operates the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
After failing to strike an agreement in 2019, the Seminoles declared that they will not make their yearly gambling payment to the state of about $330 million in 2020. In 2021, a new contract was formed to begin the payment. It contains a complete list of gaming goals for both the state and the tribe.
Florida sports betting has obtained legislative permission but it is currently on hold owing to litigation. Once implemented, Floridians may have a variety of choices for betting on sports via mobile devices across the state.
When will online sports betting become available in Florida?
There is reason to assume that 2021 will mark the start of the countdown to the legalization of sports betting in the Sunshine State. The earliest sports wagers might be accepted in Florida are likely in 2022.
This would include the option to wager online in Florida via mobile sports betting applications. However, the prospective launch date is hampered by two major reasons.
First, in 2018, state voters passed an amendment to the Florida constitution that granted them the authority to decide whether future casino expansion might occur. Interest groups in the state have vowed to oppose the new gaming compact and the prospective establishment of Florida sportsbooks. They argue on the grounds that the agreement must also be approved by voters.
Second, legal experts disagree on whether it is lawful for tribes to conduct mobile sports betting outside of reserve boundaries. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) might confine betting to inside the actual limits of a tribe’s territories. Although this subject is still open and unresolved.
There are still challenges pending in Florida that may stymie the possible launch of legal mobile sports betting.
Sportsbooks in Florida
If sportsbooks are permitted to open in Florida, gamblers may anticipate one big name to dominate the landscape. This will be the Hard Rock Sportsbook.
The Seminole Tribe owns and runs the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, which is by far the most well-known brand. The Seminole have exclusive rights to provide sports betting in Florida. For that reason the Hard Rock Sportsbook brand will most certainly be prominent among the alternatives given.
Other Florida sportsbook brands are permitted to engage under the terms of the agreement reached between the state government and the tribe. The catch is that these companies must negotiate an agreement with the Seminole in order to gain access to the Florida sports betting market.
For example, DraftKings Sportsbook or BetMGM Sportsbook may want to provide mobile sports betting in Florida. In that case they must agree to an agreement in which the Seminole receives a portion of income in exchange for the right to operate in Florida.