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Florida Becomes 28th State to Legalize Sports Betting

It’s official. Florida has become the 28th state in American to legalize sports betting. On Tuesday, the Florida Senate voted to legalize sports betting by a 38-1 margin. The House of Representatives finished the deal on Wednesday by passing the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.

The compact passed in the House by a 97-17 vote. The feelings heading into the special session were questionable for sports wagering, but the only step that remains is approval from the Department of the Interior.

Once the compact is approved on the federal level, sports betting will be legal in the Sunshine State.

Florida, the 28th State: A Monopoly for the Seminole Tribe

The new gaming compact for the Seminoles gives the tribe a monopoly over sports betting in the state. This does not align with free-market beliefs, but the legislature passed the treaty because of the money that the industry would bring to the state.

All sports bets must be placed through servers on tribal land. If a mobile betting platform wanted to operate in the state, they would have to utilize Hard Rock Gaming technology because of the language in the compact.

This fact, along with the revenue cut, could discourage outside betting providers from launching in Florida. There could be some issues with the compact at the federal level.

Regarding future legal issues, House Speaker Chris Sprowls said,

“I don’t think there’s any chance of doing a gaming deal to the size and scope that was negotiated by Gov. DeSantis without a legal challenge. You are navigating the icebergs of legal hurdles as you do this.”

Florida, the 28th State: Complaints About the Monopoly

If the tribal compact is legalized on the federal level, it still could face legal issues. Many people in Florida are not happy about the tribe’s monopoly over gaming. Limited competition is not suitable for a sports betting market.

New York has been dealt similar critiques for its sports betting bill. Brendan Bussmann, a partner with Global Market Advisors, spoke out against the compact earlier in May to Sports Handle

“If anyone wanted to take the New York bill and make it worse, Florida did that. Florida did the New York deal and put it in the blender and said, how can we scramble this even more?”

The group that hurts the most from the gaming compact in Florida is the mobile sports betting platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel. Florida is the third most populous state in America, so it’s devastating for sports betting companies not to be granted a fair share of the market.

Florida, the 28th State: Mobile Betting Could be a Problem

The issue with the compact could come with mobile sports betting. If all bets must go through a server on tribal land, the Seminoles claim that the stakes are occurring on their property. Opponents of the compact claim the bets are not being made on Seminole property just because they utilize a tribal server.

If the Department of the Interior agreed with this belief, mobile betting would most likely be scrapped from the state. However, the Seminole Tribe and state would still benefit from a retail market. According to the compact, the Seminoles will pay the state $2.5 billion in the first five years of sports betting.

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