The size and scope of the sports betting market in the United States are growing at quite a pace. New states are regularly passing legislation allowing the pastime both online and in brick-and-mortar establishments, and in Florida, these moves are gathering momentum.
At present, if you want to place a sports bet in the state, you’ll have to do so in person at any of the casinos run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. There have been ongoing efforts to offer other providers the opportunity to run sports betting services in the region, but as of now, these are firmly on hold.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has blocked online sports betting for now, but the situation is quite fluid, and many believe that, in time, Florida online casinos could also become a regulated licensed industry and one that would no doubt result in a massive injection of state revenue via relevant taxation, as we have seen in New York since that state went legal.
The situation in Florida is very complex given the access that the Seminole Tribe has to the market, making it effectively a monopoly, but things could change swiftly.
Daniel Wallach, a South Florida-based sports betting attorney, commented on the situation;
"Some competing gaming operators brought a lawsuit arguing that this compact violated federal law because the authorization of online sports betting went beyond what federal law permitted, which was only to regulate gaming on Indian land,”
Many would-be sports betting providers are keen to nullify the current situation, and litigation is ongoing. The appeals court stated of the situation;
“[T]o be sure, an IGRA gaming compact can legally authorize a tribe to conduct gaming only on its own lands. But at the same time, IGRA does not prohibit a gaming compact — which is, at bottom, an agreement between a tribe and a state — from discussing other topics, including those governing activities outside Indian lands”
“The District Court erred by reading into the compact a legal effect it does not (and cannot) have, namely, independently authorizing betting by patrons located outside of the tribe’s lands. Rather, the compact itself authorizes only the betting that occurs on the Tribe’s lands; in this respect, it satisfied IGRA,”
“Whether it is otherwise lawful for a patron to place bets from non-tribal land within Florida may be a question for that state’s courts, but it is not the subject of this litigation and not for us to decide.” It concluded.
On the current legal agreement set by Governor Ron DeSantis effectively leading to the stranglehold held by the Seminole Tribe, Wallach added;
"This is a bad deal for Floridians, bad for the state, and terrible for the pari mutuel industry,"
"It would deter competition and wouldn't be a good experience for the consumer because if you're dealing with one sportsbook that has the, not only the dominant share, but control over the whole [market], you may get less competitive odds, you may get less attractive marketing inducements such as, free bets, bonus bets and second chance bets."
One imagines this legal argument will run and run, and the chances of online sports betting or sports betting on the ground outside Seminole casino territory isn’t going to happen any time soon, certainly not in 2023.
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