This page takes a look at Florida sports betting and the history of its legality in the state. Our intention is to keep this page constantly updated with news regarding sportsbooks in FL.
History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Florida
The southern portion of the United States is collectively behind the rest of the country when it comes to legal sports betting. Many states in the south are beginning to pass sports betting legislation, but they didn’t act as quickly as the northern portion of the United States after the Professional, and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed.
PASPA was ruled unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court in 2018. PASPA was legislated in 1992. This law banned sportsbooks throughout the United States except for a few areas of the country, including Las Vegas. Florida is behind the eight ball when it comes to legal sports betting in America.
There have been no sports betting legislation passed in the state of Florida. Lawmakers have proposed sports betting bills, but there are conflicting agreements between the state legislature and the Seminole tribe. Sports betting would help support the state economy. This has been the primary reason that lawmakers want to make the form of gambling legal.
The Florida economy is predicated on tourism. Florida is recovering, but the financial benefit that sports betting could provide to the state would drastically help recovery efforts. However, the Seminole tribe and the state legislature will need to be on the same page in order for this to occur.
What Sports Betting Bill in Florida Says
The sports betting bill that’s proposed in Florida is part of a larger gambling compact with the Seminole tribe. The Seminole tribes hold the power in this agreement because the state will need to get them on board. The state would benefit in a massive way if they worked out an agreement with the tribe that’s close to the original proposal.
If Florida is able to amend the tribal compact, they could receive up to an additional $700 million per year. Obviously, if the state of Florida would receive this much additional tax revenue, the Seminole tribe should be able to benefit as well. The bill would allow the Seminole tribe to add additional games to the casino floor in all their properties. The tribe could add craps and roulette to their list of casino games.
In terms of sports betting, the Seminoles would have sole possession of the legal sports betting market. They would also be allowed to add one or two additional casinos in Florida. The state has requested a flat annual fee of $500 million dollars in the first year of the new compact. This would go up to $700 million in the following years of the agreement. The tribe is taking their time to analyze this number in order to see if it they’ll be able to financially capitalize on the deal.
What’s Holding Sports Betting Bill Back in Florida
The tribal compact with the Seminole tribe has been the main issue holding sports betting back in Florida. Every other issue falls under the umbrella of the problem with the proposed tribal compact. On paper, this deal seems like a benefit for both parties. The Seminole tribe would be able to increase their audience with one or two new properties. In addition to this, they would be able to expand their casino gaming options and would have the sole possession of the Florida sports betting market.
The state has requested a lump sum of money every year from the Seminole tribe within their tribal compact. The COVID pandemic has slowed down the Florida economy. This has caused casinos to suffer in the state relative to a typical year.
The Seminoles annual gaming fee is $330 million. The state is asking for a significant upcharge within the new gaming compact. The Seminoles made it clear that they aren’t going to pay their annual $330 million gaming fee in 2020 because of the state’s unwillingness to bend to bring sports betting into the state.
Financially, the state needs sports betting more than the casinos. COVID has hurt the entire tourism industry in Florida in 2020. The state needs additional revenue that sports betting will bring to the state. However, the Florida legislature will have to beg at this point to have a serious discussion with the Seminole tribe because their original offer hasn’t seemed to please the tribe.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Florida
Florida has a very large population, and the number of professional sports teams reflects the size of the state. Florida has a total of nine professional sports teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL
Florida is home to three NFL franchises, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jaguars and Dolphins are members of the AFC while the Buccaneers are part of the NFC. The Buccaneers are probably the most popular team in the state as of 2020, followed by Miami. Tom Brady coming to Tampa Bay made the excitement around the team grow drastically.
The Miami Heat and Orlando Magic are the only two NBA teams that play in the state. The Heat lost in the NBA Finals in 2020. They’re projected to be very successful again in 2021. The Magic haven’t had the same amount of success as the Heat. Although, they did win the Eastern Conference Southeast Division title in 2019.
The MLB and the NHL each have two Florida teams that compete in the state. The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are the two MLB teams in the state. The Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lighting are the NHL franchises that play in Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays lost in the World Series in 2020 to the Dodgers. Despite this, the Tampa Bay Lighting brought a Stanley Cup back to the city.
Florida Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Florida?
No, sports betting isn’t legal in the state. Sports betting legislation has been proposed, but the state is still a long way from legalizing the form of gambling.
What is holding up the legalization of sports betting?
The state can’t seem to make an agreement with the Seminole tribe. The state has given the Seminole tribe the ability to have a monopoly in the Florida sports betting economy. This will come at a high cost for the tribe, but it doesn’t seem like they’re willing to pay anything close to the amount that has been proposed.
When is the earliest possible launch date for sports betting?
The fall of 2021 would be the earliest launch for sports betting in Florida. Despite this, a more realistic launch date is sometime in 2022 with how the compact negotiations have gone thus far.
Will you be able to bet on college teams in the state?
There hasn’t been any legislation saying that you won’t be able to bet on college sports. However, this will be determined once the Seminole tribe and the Florida state legislature come to an agreement.
What’s the legal betting age in the state of Florida?
To bet on a casino floor, you must be 21 years of age.