Mobile Sports Betting in Florida Hits a Roadblock

Mobile Sports Betting in Florida

Sports betting has been flourishing in the USA but all is not going well in Florida. Residents will have to wait until 2024 to vote on whether to legalize sports betting in the site.

That’s because a measure that was hopefully going to institute a program has failed to make the 2022 ballot. That means a long wait until the next opportunity to vote on the issue. It’s a situation that most people in Florida thought had been solved last year.

November 1, 2021, saw mobile sports betting introduced in the state. However, it took less than a month for serious problems to derail the process.

The state authorities in Florida had come to an agreement with the Seminole tribe. They have a de facto monopoly on gambling in the state’s casino. That agreement made it possible for the process to legalize online sports betting to go ahead.

The Seminole tribe were allowed to use computer servers on their property to run online sportsbooks. To do so, they would be paying at least $2.5 billion to the state over a five year period. It’s believed that since October of last year, $75 million had been paid by them.

This was not the end of the story of legalizing online sports betting in Florida. Opposition to the deal with the Seminole Tribe came from two Florida casinos who claimed the deal broke federal law and if allowed would have a “significant and potentially devastating” effect on their businesses.

Seminole Tribe Deal Ruled Invalid

November 22 saw US District Judge Dabney Friedrich rule that the deal was invalid. That turned the clock back and sports gambling in the state was again in trouble. The Tribe headed to the US Circuit Court of Appeals but failed to overturn the decision.

November saw the Hard Rock Sportsbook launched but it wasn’t to be operating for long. The Seminole Tribe suspended its sports betting operation after a federal court of appeal decision.

There was renewed hope that the situation could be turned around thanks to a ballot measure being held in the state. A referendum on sports betting was possible for Election Day later this year. That’s not going to happen though as the required proposal didn’t receive enough signatures.

Now there’s going to have to be a wait until 2024 and there are many who have been declaring their disappointment at the news. It won’t just be the Seminole Tribe and gamblers in the state of Florida who will be missing out. There’s all the millions of dollars of tax revenue and that large amount due to be paid to the state that won’t now be received.