Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber

  • Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is urging the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to reject the proposal for a regulated sports betting industry for Florida.
  • Gelber says corruption was done in order for SB 2-A to pass, the legislation that was signed off by Governor Ron DeSantis to open up sportsbooks in the state.
  • The DOI has until early July to approve the bill that would make sports wagering in Florida an official law.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On May 25, Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation for regulated sports betting in Florida but Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber wants the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to reject the bill. Due to the industry being a heavily tribal one with the Seminole Tribe of Florida at the helm, it is required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that it receives approval from D.C. before becoming an official law.

However, a strongly worded letter to the DOI by Gelber on Thursday is making headlines as he’s asking them not to agree to the opening of regulated sports betting in the Sunshine State. Gelber claims that behind closed doors, negotiations for the expanded Tribal Gaming Compacts not only included the Governor and the Tribe but commercial sports betting entities who stand to profit from the industry.

What’s In A Letter?

Mayor Gelber’s letter goes in-depth into reasonings why rejection of the legislation is warranted. Not only does he claim that corruption occurred to get to this point, but he believes all those involved found a loophole to forgo a vote for a constitutional amendment by going in the route they did.

He also shines a light on the “where” of how Florida’s sports betting market would work in terms of locations. While Seminole gaming establishments are named within the bill, there are ambiguities in the language that would allow for other spots where sportsbooks could open up throughout the Sunshine State.

Mobile sportsbooks are a big issue within the letter because Gelber wants to know where they can be accessed. Will it simply be on tribal grounds or will these platforms have statewide accessibility? From what’s understood by lawmakers, these applications would be open for business for sports betting Floridians throughout the state.

Where Will This Lead?

The U.S. Department of the Interior has until early July to either approve or reject SB 2-A. Although it’s unlikely that the DOI will find this letter to sway them from approval, it’s still something to be aware of. The majority of government officials in Florida, with Governor Ron DeSantis included, want regulated sports betting for the state and the DOI has already approved other states with similar interests this year.

But in just a few short weeks, everyone will know if Florida is finally an official state for wagering on sporting events.

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