Sports bettors from Florida are cheering a new push to regulate wagering in the state, although the obvious move by the legislation to disregard local tribal gambling rights effectively makes this betting kid stillborn.
On Monday, under the watchful eye of the Florida Lottery, Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes introduced bills allowing online and mobile sports betting, while retail gaming from Lottery-run kiosks would also be permitted. Betting revenue would be taxed at a rate of 15 percent while $100k would cost betting license application and renewal fees.
There are other aspects of the legislation, including a long list of sports-related people who would be prevented from making wagers. The bill would also require the Lottery to restrict every individual sporting wager to the maximum size.
While the law allows private operators to apply for online betting licenses, the Seminole Tribe, which owns six casinos in the state, is not listed at all. The Seminoles practically have veto power over all legislation relating to community casinos and will most certainly make sure that this gambling plan goes absolutely nowhere.
Last year, the Seminoles asked for an end to the hundreds of millions of dollars they sent back to the state each year in casino revenue-sharing fees. The tribe has long maintained that the government is not doing enough to reign in local cardrooms that are suspected by the tribe of horning in their state-approved privilege on’ house-banked’ card games.
This year, an ill-fated attempt was made to allow legal wagering at the casinos of the tribe and at state pari-mutuel racetracks, but the latter would have functioned as the gambling’ affiliates’ of the tribe with an obligation to kick back a slice of their betting earnings to the community.
There’s also the small issue of the referendum initiativethat Florida legislators passed a year later to change the state constitution to allow the extension of gaming to obtain 60 percent of voters ‘ support. And any plan to broaden betting would face a wall of negative campaigning from The Walt Disney Co, which has long felt that gambling clashed at Disney World with its family-friendly feel.
With Scoreboard, a virtual monopoly run by the Oregon Lottery, Oregon opened a legal online betting market in mid-October. Scoreboard managed $5.6 m gross wagers over the last two weeks of last month, of which $218k were held by the Lottery.
The figures are somewhat lower, but Oregon again has a total of only about 4 m people. Interestingly, the Lottery did not exactly support Scoreboard with any special vigor, likely to mitigate disappointment should any possible kinks arise in the software operated by SBTech. Tune next month to see if four NFL Sundays will help put the scoreboard on the bettors ‘ state screen.