Lawmakers Make New Push to Legalize Sports Betting in Florida

Odds Board and Money
Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca and Democratic Rep. Anika Omphroy are teaming up to push separate drafts that would legalize sports betting in Florida.

LaMarca will take charge of two bills that will implement the overall policy (HB1317) and set up the requirements for licensing (HB1321). Meanwhile, Omphroy will sponsor the legislation that will establish the tax structure surrounding the sports bets (HB1319).

This isn’t the first time that legislators are seeking to legalize Florida sports betting. But while previous attempts have not succeeded, lawmakers are looking for ways to augment the state’s revenues which have been ravaged by the ongoing pandemic.

Said LaMarca on Thursday:

“Right now, Floridians are sending millions of dollars out of the state every year, mostly overseas to foreign countries, because Florida has failed to bring legal sports wagering to our state. We have an opportunity to keep that money here in Florida. Allowing online and retail sports betting to operate legally translates into millions in revenue. That’s money from Floridians that should be invested in Florida.”

HB1317

According to the proposal, legal Florida sports betting licenses will be limited to tribal properties, casinos, pari-mutuel facilities, and professional sports venues. The license would allow those entities to set up sports betting via website and app, enabling customers to wager on games online. Betting kiosks where sports bets can be placed via touchscreen game stations are also mentioned in the bills.

Only persons aged 21 or older are allowed to place bets on Florida sports. Betting on the NFL and other professional sports will be permitted, as well as for college athletics. However, the bill specifically prohibits betting action on high school games. If passed, the Florida sports betting bill will provide prop bets on player statistics as well as parlays and other bets that combined multiple bets into one.

Sports and Tourism Destination

The NBA finished its 2020 season using a bubble format at Disney World in Orlando. Then this year’s Super Bowl was also played in Tampa Bay, with the home town Buccaneers upsetting the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LV.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pushing for the Sunshine State to become a top sports and tourism destination in the United States. To do so, visitors would need entertainment choices, and sports betting could be one of those. Having a well-connected sports betting industry will help the state achieve that.