In Play Betting, Prop Bets Not in the Cards for Future Florida Sportsbooks

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Mar/05/2019

Legislators are discussing the prospects of allowing sports betting in the state of Florida, but the final product is likely to be limited.

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In-play wagering and prop bets will probably be off the table.

Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, wants sports betting prioritized in the state’s upcoming 60-day legislative session.

“It’s an activity that’s taking place presently, and if we can regulate it properly and have dollars come in, then we should do that,” Galvano told The News Service of Florida during a recent interview.

The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for legalization of sports betting nationwide but Florida requires voters to decide following a ballad initiative that got voted into law this past November. 

From the News-Press:

Lawmakers have to deal with the constraints of a constitutional amendment, approved in November, giving voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state, something that in the past has largely been controlled by the Legislature.

The state’s dog and horse tracks and jai alai frontons want a seat at the sports-betting table.

Also at stake: nearly $350 million in annual payments from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The News-Press notes that the constitutional amendment, largely bankrolled by the Seminoles and Disney Worldwide Services Inc., are at odds over whether the Legislature even has the power to deal with sports betting.

“I think a solid argument could be made that it wouldn’t require a referendum. I think an absolute argument can be made that it wouldn’t require a constitutional amendment,” Galvano, a lawyer, said, adding he does not believe any sports-betting proposal would need the 60 percent voter approval required for constitutional amendments to pass in Florida.

But John Sowinski, campaign manager of the political committee that backed the constitutional amendment, strongly disagreed.

“The Legislature not only doesn’t have the authority to approve sports betting, it does not even have the authority to propose sports betting to the voters,” Sowinski told the News Service.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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