The Latest on Florida’s Sports Betting Saga

Photo by Denys Kostyuchenko on Unsplash

Until 2018, a 1992 federal law prohibited sports betting in the majority of states, with only the state of Nevada permitted to take bets on sports. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down by the Supreme Court and gave states autonomy over their own betting decisions.

Many states moved quickly to legalize sports betting at in-person facilities and online. This has resulted in them benefitting from significant revenue streams. However, Florida’s sports betting history hasn’t been plain sailing, but all that could be consigned to the past with a potential solution on the horizon. 

Sports Betting Background in Florida

A 2021 compact with the Seminole Tribe was agreed as part of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This allowed the tribe to provide sports betting facilities throughout Florida and online.

The agreement stated that servers must be located on Seminole land. However, objections were placed claiming that betting should only take place on the land and the online operations will be used by people offsite, contravening the IGRA law. This resulted in Florida’s betting app market being temporarily halted.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made a decision in the summer of 2023 to uphold the original agreement. This was bad news for Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. and West Flagler Associates, the two pari-mutuel companies that led objections and attempted to sue the U.S. Interior Department for allowing the compact.

The Latest Sports Betting Developments in Florida

Despite being technically legal in Florida, the Seminole Tribe has held back from relaunching their sports betting apps following a hold on the ruling. Their decision mitigates the risk of having to close down operations for a second time and risk ruining their repuatation and accruing significant costs.

Unfortunately, the case at the Florida Supreme Court is still active and the Seminoles will have to overcome this before sports betting is launched again. This case was also launched by the pari-mutuel companies who argue that the compact violates a constitutional amendment that requires the approval of voters in regards to casino gambling.

The Future of Sports Betting in Florida

While all the news appears to be positive for the state of Florida and the Seminole tribe to launch sports betting in the future, there is still some waiting before it will become active.

In the meantime Floridians will have to rely on offshore betting apps to enjoy sports betting markets for their favorite events this year.

The Florida betting market has the potential to be one of the country’s biggest thanks to the 22 million residents that live there. As the third most populous state, and with sports teams like the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Orlando City Soccer Club boasting millions of supporters, the Seminole Tribe’s patience is sure to pay off.


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Written by Catie Moore

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