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Big Week for Florida Legal Betting with Special Session Taking Place
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Big Week for Florida Legal Betting with Special Session Taking Place

by Tanner KernMay 17, 2021

The special legislative session to determine Florida legal betting is set to begin today.  The session will help determine the future of sports betting in the state.

Details of the Special Legislative Session

The Florida legislative session begins today and is scheduled to run through Wednesday. Three days may seem like an extensive period, but the legislature has many topics to discuss.

Last month, Government DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe agreed to an updated gaming compact, and the lawmakers will vote on the document during the Florida legislative session. Pending approval, both chambers will also be tasked with creating bills to support the compact.

Florida legal betting

The new bills will determine the exact framework of Florida legal betting. Bills that have been previously introduced will serve as the framework for the legislative pieces created during the session.

The supporting bills are critical because the updated tribal compact does not favor legal sports betting platforms. Major sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel could operate in the state, but the secondary bills must organize the format in accordance with the compact.

This legislative task is not going to be easy.

Florida Legal Betting: The Updated Tribal Compact

The main question throughout the compact negotiations was mobile betting. When the Seminole Tribe and Governor DeSantis announced the news, the gloomy cloud on mobile betting seemed to be lifted.

However, when the details of the compact were revealed, the cloud began to reappear. Governor DeSantis gave the Seminole Tribe power over all Florida legal betting via its Hard Rock Gaming brand.

The Seminole Tribe will need to sub-license contracts with three or more pari-mutuels facilities. These deals will be primarily for marketing because the facilities will have to use Hard Rock Gaming technology.

What Does This Mean for Florida Legal Betting?

If sports betting platforms want to join the Florida market, they will need to partner with a pari-mutuel betting facility. The compact states that the Seminole Tribe would operate all skins under Hard Rock technology.

Therefore, if DraftKings entered the Florida market, the company would need to adopt Hard Rock technology. The branding would be DraftKings, but Hard Rock Gaming would construct the book.

Florida Legal Betting

Also, the split for sports betting providers heavily favors the Seminole Tribe. The pari-mutuel and online skin would receive 60% of the revenue, and the tribe would be granted 40%.

A 60% split between a betting platform and a pari-mutuel facility may not be worth it for betting companies. This feeling could be heightened considering online skins would not be able to utilize their technology.

Likely, a sports betting company like DraftKings will not risk its reputation by giving up technology rights in Florida. The easiest way for Florida legal betting to be enacted is for the legislature to scrap mobile betting.

This would immensely cut the state’s tax revenue, but it would generate less risk than mobile betting. The questions will be answered over the next three days in Florida’s special legislative session.

USA Wager will continue to provide updates on Florida legal betting.

Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.

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About The Author
Tanner Kern
Tanner Kern is a former Division I football player at Lafayette College and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. He is currently a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.