Florida Senator Goes All-in On Sports Betting, Files Three Separate Bills

Florida Senator Goes All-in On Sports Betting, Files Three Separate Bills

About two dozen states in the US have legalized sports betting, and several others are considering legislation to support the budding industry. In Florida, Senator Jeff Brandes doesn’t intend to leave any stones unturned for creating legal sports betting market.

New bills filed ahead of the legislative session

On Monday, Sen. Brandes three new bills for legalization of sports betting in the state. His bills create space for private businesses as well as a state-owned lottery operating sports wagering. His bills- SB 968, SB 970 and SB 972 will seek legalization of betting in iLottery kiosks, casinos, and other retail venues. They also support online with a focus on mobile betting, a segment that has received more attention in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Florida Senator Goes All-in On Sports Betting, Files Three Separate Bills

The next legislative session is beginning soon, but the lawmakers do not have to make an immediate decision yet. They will have time until next year to discuss the bills and judge their viability in the state.

What do the bills suggest?

According to SB 968, the state Department of Lottery will act as the governing body for all activities related to sports betting. It will also be given the authority to create a legal infrastructure within which the industry operates. The department will be able to decide the types of sports the residents can bet on and the amount of maximum stake.

Most other state regulators allow residents to bet on professional sports but avoid betting on college or high school events. The bill also clarifies its stance on electronic sports and states,

“[…] a licensee may have individually branded websites for the purposes of offering a sports pool, each of which may have an accompanying mobile application bearing the same brand.”

This means that the bill aims to create wagering rules similar to Pennsylvania.

SB 970 suggests that all operators willing to apply for a state license should pay a $100,000 licensing fee, followed by a 15% tax on the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). Voters in the state agreed to legalize athletics wagering in the state in a November 2018 referendum. However, Florida has moved towards regulation at a very slow pace.

The Seminole tribe tried to lead a campaign to get a sports betting license for Hard Rock casinos. However, negotiations with the state have reportedly broken down. The most recent budget for the state (about $91.4 billion) did not factor in gambling revenue.

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