- Florida sports betting discussions were stalled in 2019 due to tribal compact complications.
- If passed, the FL sports betting bills would legalize sports gambling through the state lottery.
- FL SB 968 would legalize online sports wagering and mobile sports betting apps in Florida.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sports betting in Florida will officially be up for discussion in the upcoming 2020 legislative session. On Monday, Senator Jeff Brandes introduced three sports bills that would put the Florida Lottery in charge of operating, regulating, and taxing the activity.
“Sports betting is yet another area where we can enhance individual freedom,” said Brandes to Florida Politics. “In absence of a well-regulated structure, we’ve seen a complex underground industry developed in Florida, potentially breeding habits of addiction, while robbing our government of revenue that should be collected and remitted for education.”
“This legislation creates a legal framework in which Floridians can choose how to spend their time and money, without worry of being criminalized.”
The first bill introduced was FL SB 968. This particular piece of legislation sets the guidelines for who can operate a sportsbook in Florida, who can bet on sports, as well as laying out the duties of the Department of the Lottery when it comes to sports wagering.
Under the current language of the bill, only those above the age of 21 will be allowed to bet on sports in Florida.
Those who work for a sports organization in the state will not be allowed to bet on that team. Those who have a financial or legal investment in a sports organization will also be banned from betting on that team.
Companies that choose to partner with the Florida Lottery will be allowed to offer their bookmaking services through betting kiosks. Sports betting license holders can offer online sports betting in Florida as well as mobile sports wagering apps. These apps would be available to anyone inside state lines.
The second bill, FL SB 970, highlights the state’s fees to obtaining and keeping a sports wagering license. According to the bill, companies seeking to become sports wagering operators in the state will have to pay $100,000 a year to receive and keep their license.
The third Florida sports betting bill, FL SB 972, digs a little deeper into the financial aspects of what future sports wagering operators will have to consider.
As that bill is currently written, a tax rate of 15% will be applied to the number of money sports wagering operators keep after paying out winnings. The bill also specifies when payments to the state will be made as well as a $10,000 late fee for each day that those payments are not submitted.
The topic of sports wagering in Florida came up during the 2019 legislative session, but progress was stalled due to complications between the state and the Seminole Tribe. The Seminoles hold a strong political position to the state’s gaming industry which may affect the progress of these bills next year.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.