While much of the US has been enjoying rapid deregulation regarding online gambling, it looks like Florida is still stuck with fairly restrictive legislation. As it stands, all forms of sports betting are illegal in the Sunshine State, while casino gaming is restricted to a limited number of casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe.
However, it looks like things could be changing soon. This is because a new compact between the Seminole Tribe and the Florida legislature was agreed earlier this spring, and hopes are high that it might eventually lead to legal sports betting in Florida.
All of this is causing shockwaves in the state’s physical casinos and racetracks. Such gambling venues could be the first in line to get sports betting licenses. Should things progress logically, then it might be only a matter of time before Florida gamers get to enjoy online casino bonuses like the Mohegan Sun casino bonus code. But what’s holding up the arrival of legal online gambling in the Sunshine State?
Big changes expected for legal sports betting in Florida
As it stands, two powerful US sportsbooks – DraftKings and FanDuel – are lobbying with a $10 million ballot initiative that would hope to push through legislation that permits commercial sports betting in Florida. If the petition gets enough signatures, there’s every chance that a ballot could be put to the state’s residents in 2022. The vote would require a minimum of 60% approval to pass and open the gateway to legal sports betting.
Of course, there is plenty of opposition to the bill with the likes of the Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber being particularly vocal in his resistance. However, there are still hopes that the ongoing negotiations between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe can reach a satisfactory conclusion soon.
After all, Florida has a massive sporting heritage with no less than three NFL teams and two NBA, NHL and MLB teams each whose stadiums could form some potential retail outlets that permit legal sports betting. Plus with impressive college football teams like Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes, it’s hard to deny the sporting legacy that the Sunshine State has.
Florida currently has very strict laws that outlaws all forms of sports betting. The only exceptions to this are the parimutuel betting options that cover horse racing and greyhound racing at legendary racetracks such as Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Plus it’s worth noting that daily fantasy sports are still unregulated in Florida – part of the reason why DraftKings and FanDuel are so keen to open the doors to fully licensed sports betting.
Stalemate in Florida online casino legislation
Even if the sports betting bill somehow passes through the Florida legislature next year, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that anything would change in regards to the online casino laws. Only a handful of US states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania currently permit online casino gaming and it’s hard to imagine Florida reversing its current position.
The Seminole Tribe currently operates six brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. These include the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, as well as the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood. All of these casinos would be expected to get sports betting licenses should the laws change, and they would be expected to join the queue in the unlikely event that online casino gaming became legal in Florida.
As it stands, Florida gamers who want to play online face the unenviable prospect of having to use unregulated offshore sites. But with the Florida state budget being particularly hard hit as a result of the pandemic, the state legislature might have little choice but to deregulate more forms of online gambling to stay afloat.