The state of Florida is looking to legalize new forms of gaming in the state, but one option has been removed from the table. Online casino gaming was expected to be included in the new law, but that was officially dropped off the table on Monday night.
Governor Ron DeSantis has been working with the Seminole Tribe for months, and the two sides officially agreed to a new gaming compact in April. Both sides have agreed to remove online casino gaming and instead simply focus on sports betting.
Chris Sprowls, Speaker of the House in Florida, was the man that announced the removal of online casino gaming on Monday night. Sprowls said, “In my discussions with our members, I realized many shared the same concern as I — that some language in the compact could be construed to lead to the backdoor expansion of online gaming.”
Not allowing online casino gaming is a huge financial blow to a state looking for new revenue sources, but Florida could also become one of the biggest sports betting markets in the US. If approved, Florida will become the most populous state to offer the industry, but it will take months or even years to become a market leader.
Special Session Underway
Both the Florida House and Senate will have to approve any new gaming industry bills, but a special session is currently being held on these issues. The special session is expected to last the entire week, but a final bill could be presented for a vote by Friday.
Lawmakers in Florida are looking to create a Florida Gaming Control Commission to help with the launch of legalized sports betting. This would need to happen, along with the approval of the new gaming compact between DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe.
The federal government would also have to sign off on any new gaming compacts, but there is little concern about this deal being rejected.
Daily Fantasy Sports Also in Question
DraftKings and FanDuel are keeping a close eye on the gaming issues in the state of Florida, but they are more focused on Daily Fantasy Sports in the Sunshine State. These companies sent in Attorney Scott Ward to address some issues with the language regarding DFS laws.
These sites propose raising the legal age to play DFS games in Florida to 21 years of age and also increase the licensing fees required to enter the state. This is an effort to keep some of the smaller DFS operators from entering the state and providing competition.
Lawsuits Are Coming
When the final gaming compact is approved by the Florida legislature, it will likely lead to a long list of lawsuits, both at the state and federal level. There is a group called “No Casinos” that is fighting against the new gaming compact, and it is looking to rally support with residents of Florida.
The parties who oppose this compact are pointing to Amendment 3, which was passed in 2018. This amendment prohibits gaming expansion in the state without voter approval, but DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe are looking to strike a deal without a referendum.