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  • Legal Florida sports betting will be a topic of discussion when the Florida Legislature convenes in March.
  • A bill that would make mobile and retail sportsbooks legal in the Sunshine State has been pre-filed by Senator Jeff Brandes.
  • It’s speculated that a legal sports gaming market in Florida would bring in millions of dollars in annual revenue from the industry if the bill receives passage.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senator Jeff Brandes (R -St. Petersburg) has pre-filed a bill for the 2021 legislative session that would make sports betting in Florida legal.

This is not the first time that Brandes has pushed legislation on the topic to try and give Florida a legalized sports wagering industry but previous attempts at doing so have failed. However, persistence is key for any success in life which is why Brandes has put Senate Bill 392 into motion for it to be heard by the Florida Legislature when it convenes in March.

Insight Into Possible Florida Legal Sports Wagering

Senator Brandes sat down with LegalSportsBetting to discuss FL SB 392 and why the Sunshine State needs to have a legal sports wagering market. With more than half of the country having signed their own sports gaming industries into law, Brandes feels it’s high time that Florida gets one of their own.

Of course, if the past is any indication, there will be those that are against legalization, especially the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who has previously been opposed to the idea in earlier sessions.

“I’m sure this bill will receive opposition from a variety of different factions. But as far as the Seminole Tribe of Florida, I can’t speak for them specifically. But I don’t think the Legislature needs to give the Seminoles any more leverage against us,” said Brandes. “I think sports betting going exclusively to the Tribe would provide them with more leverage than the Legislature should give them.”

The proposal would have the Florida Lottery as the regulatory body to oversee the sports gaming market in the state. Brandes believes this would provide a smooth transition into a new aspect of gaming as the lottery already operates like a well-oiled machine, having the experience to take on a new form of gambling effortlessly.

“We have an opportunity here to have legal sports betting done through the Lottery. To my knowledge, there is no reason that we would have to do it through the Tribe and therefore we should keep it in house. If the two choices are in house or with the Tribe, I think the opportunity should go in house. Many other states have wrestled with this same question and have found that having the regulatory body be the state lottery as a very reasonable route,” said Brandes.

As far as what the bill entails, it leaves the door open for endless numbers of operators and places where sports betting in Florida could take place.

“The industry would include both retail and mobile sports betting and would allow other individuals, for example, the pari-mutuels, to be able to apply for a license to have sportsbooks within their facilities. Any mobile operator that wanted to would be able to apply for licenses via the lottery. We would be able to set up kiosks at lottery retailers that would allow them to participate directly so there is a whole variety of different mechanisms by which individuals could engage in legal sports betting in Florida. There is also no cap to the number of operators that the state would allow for licensure under this proposal as it’s currently written,” said Brandes.

There are no real projections on how much a legal sports betting market could bring in for the state.

Brandes said a more in-depth analysis of what similar states the size of Florida make each year would be needed to get a better grasp on real number estimates but he believes that tens of millions of dollars could be generated annually in revenue from a sports gaming industry.

The tax rate that’s been set for the GGR is at 15% as it is believed to be the median number compared to other markets yet Brandes is flexible on that percentage changing in the future, it’s simply acting as a starting off point at the moment.

Both professional and collegiate sports would be available for wagers under Senate Bill 392.

According to Brandes, exclusion of college sports would lead Florida sports bettors to gamble elsewhere using outlets like mobile offshore sportsbooks which would defeat the purpose of a legal sports wagering market in the state.

The Future For FL SB 392

Floridians will need to wait until March before discussions on the subject will begin to take place. Should the bill receive passage, Brandes says a launch of a legal sports betting industry in Florida could be seen by January 2022, before the next Super Bowl takes place.

Going into the new legislative session, the bill sponsor will be walking in with a positive outlook for his proposal because he believes it is in the best interest for both the state and the people.

“I hope that 2021 will serve as the year for the legalization of the market. I believe that there is a strong incentive to get this done as more and more states legalize their own sports gaming markets, it makes no sense that Florida would continue to relegate this to the black market. The state needs to recognize that there is substantial revenue to be gained and frankly substantial revenue that is going to be established no matter how we do it, we just need to establish legal sports betting in Florida,” concluded Brandes.

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