Florida a Long Shot to Offer Sports Betting ...But One Lawmaker Will Try

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Feb/11/2019

At least one lawmaker is going to try to get legislation passed that would allow sports betting and an expansion of gambling overall in the Sunshine State.


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Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton, Florida Republican, told the Associated Press sports betting is already happening in Florida, “just not regulated, and we are not collecting and sharing revenues from that activity. So that’s another area where we will be focused.”

Both Disney and the Seminoles made for unlikely bedfellows ahead of last November's elections, pumping millions into legislation that would put voters in charge of determining gambling expansion in the state.  Disney would prefer not to have gambling at all while the Seminoles wish to maintain their near monopoly.

From Florida Politics:

The “Voter Control of Gambling” amendment “ensure(s) that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” its ballot summary says. That includes adding more games or expanding current games, its sponsors say.

Galvano says there are ways around the amendment, at least as it pertains to some forms of gambling.

A bill this year “would include more of a comprehensive impact on the pari-mutuels, from tax rates to hours of operation, things of that nature that we can still still address” outside of the amendment, he said.

Pari-mutuels are the state’s dog and horse tracks that also offer other gambling, such as card games and — in South Florida — slot machines. Voters, however, also outlawed betting on dog racing in another amendment that passed last year. Facilities can keep other gambling.

As for sports betting, that activity is now legal throughout the United States following a Supreme Court ruling back in May, however, individual states must amend their own laws in most cases. 

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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