Sports betting has swept across the US, from Oregon to Rhode Island, with there now nearly being more places in the country where you can bet on sports than where you can’t. One state that dipped its toes into the new industry but quickly recoiled is Florida.
From the outset, Florida has seemed intent on opening up to sports betting, but several elements have blocked the state’s path to regulated betting. Now, another key date in the story is approaching, with the potential to open one of the largest markets in the US hanging in the balance.
Florida betting was available, but then it wasn’t
For a brief moment, people in Florida could bet on sports online. The Seminole Tribe was permitted to open up a sports betting operation and released a sportsbook app under a 2021 compact with the state. On December 4, however, Seminole was forced to suspend the operation of their Hard Rock Sportsbook app.
This was due to a November federal ruling, in which the judge determined that the offering of sports betting in Florida was still prohibited despite the recent compact. The decision struck many as bizarre, given that the repeal of PASPA put betting regulation in the hands of states, and the new compact was agreed between Florida and the Seminole Tribe.
Since then, the compact and the state of Florida betting have been in limbo. Still awaiting its second chance with the US Court of Appeals, the next deadline is April 10, 2022. Parties need to present cause by this latest deadline. Even if this comes to fruition and the appeal is won, there may yet be others to contend with before the Seminole Tribe can go about its business in online betting.
Much of the quagmire comes from the legislation on gambling that came before PASPA and the groups that are unwilling to accept the new compact that the tribe thought permitted them to offer sports betting. Perhaps the most vocal hindrance to Florida getting sports betting is the protest group “No Casinos in Florida.” The group wants the potential legalization of betting to first go to a public vote, and they have filed a lawsuit.
Florida’s betting marking could be comparable to New York
As detailed by Fortune, New York has suddenly become the top market for US sports betting. Only launched in early January, its handle has already far surpassed £3.2 billion, with it getting to the number-one spot in just one month of operation. This is greatly put down to the state’s massive population, the prevalence of major league sports teams, and high average salaries.
With a population of over 21.5 million people, Florida actually has more residents than New York. Florida also has nearly as many major league sports teams across the NHL, MLB, MLS, NFL, and NBA, with 11 to New York’s 12. The two do differ quite significantly in average income at around $59,000 to $72,000 in favor of the Empire State. However, the cost of living in Florida is drastically different from that of the notoriously pricey New York.
Considering these factors, there’s certainly an opportunity for a healthy Florida sports betting market to boom into a rival of New York for the top spot in the US. Of course, the state and Seminole Tribe need to get through this legal quandary first.