Multiple Stakeholders In Florida Oppose Sports Betting Proposal

The American Gaming Association (AGA) reports that there are now over 30 states that have either legalized sports betting or have tabled legislation that looks to legalize sports betting in their respective states. Florida was one of the few states that did not rush forward with sports betting legalization once the Supreme Court overturned Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May 2018.

Florida Pushes For Sports Betting

One of the main reasons why state legislators were not keen on pushing forward with a sports betting bill was due to the existing compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe which has a major tribal gaming operation in the state. Senator Jeff Brandes introduced SB392 in Dec 2020 to push forward with sports betting legislation but it got no traction because the Seminole Tribe insisted that its compact with the state gave it exclusive rights to offer sports betting.

The compact between the Seminole Tribe and Florida was changed and renewed in April 2021 and the new compact had provision for Florida to introduce a sports betting bill and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into existence in May 2021. This sports betting bill now needs to be put to vote and in order for it be legalized, it would need to secure a 60 percent vote.

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Multiple Opponents Oppose Sports Betting

The new compact with the Seminole Tribe allow them to offer sports betting but not exclusively. The push is now to allow commercial operators the right to apply for a sports betting license and offer legal betting services. The Seminole Tribe is not happy with this and has threated to stop paying the state any fees on its sports betting handle since it will no longer have exclusivity over sports betting.

The push to legalize sports betting has also upset multiple stakeholders and has caused a number of anti-gambling opponents to voice their disapproval and start campaigns to put an end to the push to get sports betting legalized in Florida.

Mayor Dan Gelber from Miami Beach is one of the big names that is opposed to legalize sports betting in any form. He has asked the Department of the Interior to reject the new compact that Florida has signed with the Seminole Tribe as it violates both the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the state constitution.

There are also concerns among anti-gambling organizations that legalized sports betting would fuel gambling addiction in both adults and minors in the state.