Is 2021 Florida's year for sports betting legislature?

Posted 2/11/21

Is 2021 Florida's year for sports betting legislature?

When it comes to living in Florida, there is a lot to like. This is especially true for those who live in and around Clay County. Not only is …

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Is 2021 Florida's year for sports betting legislature?

Posted

Is 2021 Florida's year for sports betting legislature?

When it comes to living in Florida, there is a lot to like. This is especially true for those who live in and around Clay County. Not only is there great weather and a positive community spirit to enjoy but there is also a thriving business community, plenty of activities and great schools. In truth, the same can be said for the rest of the state as well.

One thing that is not currently available to people in Florida, though, is legal sports betting. With many other states having legalized this in the past and others looking to in the future, many around Clay County hope that 2021 could be the year that this changes. Sports is huge around the state on a national and local level (as the interest in the Clay Iron Ladies' recent triumph at lift regions shows). With such a vibrant sports scene, it would be a welcome move in many residents' eyes.

Sports betting in Florida – the current status

As noted above, the current sports betting picture in Florida is pretty clear. It is not legal to bet on sports anywhere in the state. This applies to both offline sports betting and online sports betting. This is naturally a disappointment to the many sports fans across the region, who would love the chance to get more involved with their favorite teams by betting on them. This is possible in New Jersey, that was the first state to legalize sports betting back in 2018. BetMGM is one of the operators that promotes sports betting in the state, as well as several other states where sports betting is legal.

It also leaves Florida lagging behind other states in the USA, whose residents can legally bet on sports. A classic example of this was New Jersey's decision to legalize sports betting and open it up to those within their state borders.

As most people know, the whole sports betting picture in the USA changed when the US Supreme Court overruled the long-standing PASPA Act in 2018. This gave individual states the option to make sports betting legal if they wanted to. For those in favor, Florida's decision not to do this is still really disappointing.

Why might 2021 see legal sports betting in Florida?

Perhaps the biggest reason is that an attempt to legalize sports betting via the state lottery has been filed officially by Sen Jeff Brandes in December 2020.The SB392 bill that Brandes filed seeks to make sports betting legal and regulated by the lottery in Florida. Brandes also filed SB394 and SB396, which set out a $100,000 license fee for operators and a 15% revenue tax on them. It is wise to proceed with caution here, though – Brandes put forward similar proposals in 2019, but these failed to gain traction.

You also have to remember that daily fantasy sports betting is now a legal activity in the state. Although this might seem a small concession in comparison to full-on sports betting, it does at least show that state officials are open to the idea of gambling on sports. This would therefore suggest that they have no real issues with betting on sports in general and could make comprehensive sports betting legal soon.

One other major reason for Florida's previous reluctance to sanction betting on sports has been their agreement with the Seminole Tribe. The future of this agreement now seems a little uncertain, though. If it ceases to exist or exists in a reduced capacity, it could well remove the final obstacle for legal sports betting in Florida and Clay County.

What benefits could legal sports betting bring to Florida?

Of course, most people in and around the state will be looking at what direct benefits allowing sports betting might bring. The biggest, in many people's eyes, would be the extra revenue it would bring into state coffers. This would be additional money to spend around the state and on public amenities or programs.

It would also make Florida a more attractive place to visit and make it a viable destination for those who like to bet on sports while away. Perhaps the last main benefit is simply that it gives those who live in Florida parity with other states, greater choice of activities in their spare time and an easy way to get more involved with sports.

Patience is key

If you live around Clay County and are eagerly awaiting the legalization of sports betting, you'll have to be patient. The betting landscape in Florida has not really changed in a long time, so you cannot expect things to switch up overnight. With Sen Brandes' bills up for discussion in 2021 and a changing attitude to sports betting in general, this could be the year it finally happens.

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