Gambling and Sports Betting News January 6, 2020: Reasons Why the Florida Constitutional Amendment on “Casino Gambling” Does Not Bar Sports Betting

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Here are today's headlines in the world of gambling and sports betting as they happen - Monday January 6, 2020.

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Reasons Why the Florida Constitutional Amendment on “Casino Gambling” Does Not Bar Sports Betting

The debate over the legalization of sports betting in Florida intensifies next week when the Florida Legislature kicks off its 60-day legislative session.  Among the key issues, whether sports betting can be legalized in the Sunshine State without a voter amendment.

Gaming attorney Daniel Wallach, writing on forbes.com, notes: it is not necessary even though Florida has a unique political and legal environment that could make it challenging to pass a sports betting law.

One potential obstacle is Article X, Section 30 of the Florida Constitution, approved last year by Florida voters pursuant to the ballot measure known as Amendment 3. Article X, Section 30 – entitled “Voter control of gambling in Florida” – grants Florida voters the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize the expansion of “casino gambling” in the State of Florida.

This amendment requires a vote pursuant to a citizen’s initiative – basically, another ballot question – in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law. It makes a citizen initiative the “exclusive method" for authorizing casino gambling in Florida.

Wallach claims, among other things, Sports betting was not “typically found” in casinos as of November 6, 2018 and therefore does not fall under the definition of “gambling expansion”.

If sports betting was not typically found in casinos as of the November 6, 2018 measuring date, then it’s case over and lawmakers are free to act.

Wallach adds there was no explicit reference to “sports betting” in either the ballot title or ballot summary of the Amendment 3 petition form.

There are several reasons why the omission of the words “sports betting” is legally significant. Under Florida law, a presumption exists in favor of a legislature’s power to act. See Gaulden v. Kirk, 47 So.2d 567 (Fla. 1950). Constitutional restrictions upon legislative power are to be construed strictly, and are not to be extended to include matters not covered by the language used. In Gaulden, the Florida Supreme Court placed a high burden on those who seek to challenge a legislative act as foreclosed by the state constitution: “the burden is upon one who challenges the constitutionality of a law to make its invalidity clearly apparent.”

He also points to federal opinion.

The conclusion that sports wagering does not fall within the definition of casino gambling is buttressed by federal law. For example, the federal regulations governing gambling on Indian lands treat sports betting as a distinct form of “Class III gaming,” mentioning it in a different subsection (25 CFR § 502.4(c)) than casino games, card games, slot machines and lotteries.

The clear distinction between sports betting and casino gambling is also reflected in the federal Wire Act, which prohibits anyone “engaged in the business of betting or wagering” from knowingly utilizing a “wire communication facility” to transmit “bets or wagers” or “information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event” through the channels of interstate or foreign commerce (i.e., which generally means across state lines). Most courts have held that the Wire Act applies only to betting on sporting events, and does not reach the activity of casino gambling.

Our Free Picks Record as of January 6

2019 NFL Record: 3-10 (0%)

2019 College Football Record: 4-2 (66.6%)

2019 MLB Record: 26-18-2 (59%) - No Plays Over -160

2018-19 College Basketball Record: 12-9 (57.1%)

2018-19 NBA Record: 7-5 (58%)

2018 MLB Record: 45-35 (56.2%)

2018 NBA Record: 12-4-1 (75%)

January 5, 2020

January 4, 2020

January 3, 2020

January 2, 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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