The state of Florida has moved another step closer to legalized sports betting, and it could potentially lead to a launch at some point in 2021. The Florida Senate approved a new gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe by a 38-1 vote on Tuesday.
The topic of sports betting really started to heat up earlier this year as it was confirmed that Governor Ron DeSantis was meeting with the leaders of the Seminole Tribe. Near the end of April, it was confirmed that a new gaming compact was agreed upon, but that was just the first step in getting new gaming options launched.
This week, a special session was called to discuss the new gaming compact and several other bills associated with expanded gaming options in Florida. It didn’t take long for the Florida Senate to make a decision on sports betting, and Florida could become the most populous state in the US with the industry.
The House of Representatives in Florida will also have to approve the new gaming compact, and a final decision is expected this week.
No DFS, Online Casinos
Despite the progress of sports betting in Florida, the same cannot be said for the online casino gaming industry. Language to legalize this form of iGaming was quickly removed from the gaming compact on Monday, and it won’t be included in the new law.
The state was also looking to regulate the Daily Fantasy Sports industry, but that won’t be a part of this new gaming compact either. After some remarks from DraftKings and FanDuel, lawmakers decided to table the DFS discussion until 2022.
Plenty of Steps Remain
Getting approval of lawmakers in Florida is an important step, but the process does not end here. It’s been clear that the state wants to offer legal sports betting, but the federal government will also have to approve the gaming compact as well.
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) will now review that compact that has been approved in Florida, and they will determine if sports betting can be offered. This group will have 45 days to make a decision, and it will automatically become law if no action is taken at that time.
There is plenty of optimism that the NIGC will approve the gaming compact, clearing the way for legal sports betting in Florida.
Here Come the Lawsuits
Lawmakers in Florida are also prepared to battle this decision in the court system as several lawsuits are expected to be filed. There are some prominent groups that are opposed to the new gaming compact, and these lawsuits could be filed quickly.
Former Governor Jeb Bush has been a vocal opponent of this new gaming compact, and his group will likely be one that files a lawsuit. The “No Casinos” group has also been outspoken in recent weeks, and it has already threatened to take action.
This could ultimately delay the launch of sports betting in Florida, but most lawmakers are confident that a battle will be won in court.