The “will they, won’t they” aspect of legalizing sports betting is almost like watching an episode of Friends and wondering whether Ross and Rachel will finally tie the knot. Ever since attitudes have changed, the prospect of sports gambling becoming another avenue for states where it is currently not allowed has appeared tantalizing close.
However, the more it rages on, the less likely it seems that the relevant laws will be passed that enable states to take control of their futures. Should residents be worried? The answer is a resounding no. Although things are moving at a snail’s pace, there is enough movement to suggest that sports betting could be coming to Florida in a big way. Not only that but it could one of the major destinations in the long term.
To find out more about why this is and how it might happen, please continue reading to check out the relevant considerations.
The State Is Making Moves
Considering that sports betting isn’t yet legal in the Sunshine State, it would be weird for the people in charge to start making moves towards sports-related wagering facilities. After all, it is a massive gamble if nothing changes. However, that’s what the state is seemingly doing with the introduction of a new land-based casino in Hollywood.
Shaped like a guitar, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is set to be added to the six traditional betting establishments that already exist in the state. Plans have been on the table for a while, yet there is a renewed vigor to thrash out negotiations according to sources as both the local authority and Seminole tribe need the cash that a new casino would provide.
Also, the tribe that runs the reserves where casinos are allowed to be built is putting pressure on the government to see the light. By refusing to pay the $330 million in tax that the state is owed in 2019, there is currently a reason for talks to progress quicker than they have ever done. If sports betting is added to Florida’s roster, which it could well be in 2021 or 2022, it would put us at a table with a growing number of US states and ensure Floridians got a slice of the pie.
Changing Attitudes Towards the Industry in Florida
America’s stance on gambling has stood for a long time, yet that’s only because the general public has been willing to go along for the ride. When the masses change their minds, there has to be a rethink, and that’s happening at the moment in Florida. This is highlighted by the fact that the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has rarely received any negative press.
If anything, Floridians have welcomed the move to add sports betting facilities as it is a favorite pastime among residents. For example, in 2018, Florida’s non-tribal establishments recorded revenues of $569 million for the year, which was the highest of all-time for the state. The fact that the Seminoles can afford to pay taxes upwards of $300 million annually is another sign that wagering is popular within Florida. Of course, the state revenues are even more telling, with the FLOEDR reporting in 2017 that the estimated revenues for 2021/22 would reach around $150 million.
With pressure from the people as well as the state’s main tribe, it seems more likely than ever that sports betting will come to the east coast. Governor Ron DeSantis himself is quoted as saying that he wants to get something done soon.
An Evolving America
It’s not only Florida that is moving with the times. The US as a whole is following Europe’s lead by using the gambling industry as a means to increase revenues and boost the economy. Seen as billions of dollars are spent on off-shore betting sites every year in the US, it makes sense for America to take a piece of the action.
Online wagering is an animal that is impossible to keep in its cage, especially when you factor in its growth in the last ten years. At the beginning of the decade, the sector was still in its infancy. Fast-forward to 2021, and Statista claims that the market is worth over $200 billion, employs around 200,000 people, and affects 30,000 businesses. As this SBO post points out, sportsbooks have rapidly spread across the United States since 2017, meaning that Americans from Las Vegas to New Jersey love betting on sports because they have the accessibility to do it legitimately. The “Select State” tool shows where sports betting is legal if there is any new legislation and when the changes are expected. ESPN goes as far as listing the 22 US states where sports betting is already allowed, and the other 26 where legalization is on deck or about to be introduced
Reeg on the potential of sports betting in Florida: "Florida is an interesting place . Every legislative session our lobbyists are super optimistic and by the end of the session, they say we just couldn't get anything done." He expects it won't happen @CDCNewswire
— Howard Stutz (@howardstutz) February 25, 2021
Judging by this information, Florida needs to follow suit to prevent the state from getting left behind. Plus, there’s another reason – tourism. JSTOR showcases the link between tourism and gambling, and the positive effects it can have on a region regarding the economy and employment. Florida is already a popular destination due to the climate and party atmosphere, so legalizing sports betting will put the cherry on top of the cake.
Could Florida be a significant destination for sports betting in the future? The answer is a definitive yes. Aside from the fact that Florida mustn’t be left in other states’ dust, the fact that tourism in Florida is already high and the government is in talks to improve gambling facilities are two reasons why the move could transform the Sunshine State.