Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

florida sports betting still up in the air 

"Florida Stadium" by gainesville-apartments is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The fun, the sun, the beaches and the theme parks. There aren’t many vacation spots in North America that Florida takes a back seat to in terms of entertainment, opportunity and excitement.

Yet there’s another attraction that could enhance Florida’s spectacle as a vacation destination that looks to be stuck in the mud, uncertain of when it might pry its way loose and become available to everyone.

We’re talking about legalized sports betting. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, freeing states from fear of litigation from sports leagues for offering betting on games, thus clearing a path to the legalization of sports betting in the other 49 states beyond Nevada, where it was already legal.

While numerous American states have moved quickly to capitalize on this additional revenue stream and entertainment option, when it comes to Florida sports betting, the state continues to drag its feet.

Gambling Is Nothing New to The Sunshine State

Florida isn’t a prudish state when it comes to gambling opportunities. There’s a rich heritage of betting in the state. Let’s look at some of the options available to people who are interested in doing some wagering while enjoying a Florida vacation.

Horse Racing

Florida is home to some of the finest thoroughbred racing in the USA. Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream West (formerly Calder Racecourse), Tampa Bay Downs and Hialeah Park are some of the more well-known and high-end racing locales in the country.

Florida also offers online horse race betting through horse racing websites such as TwinSpires and TVG.

Greyhound Racing

In 2018, Florida voters cast ballots 69 percent in favor of bringing an end to greyhound racing in the state.

Florida was the first U.S. state to legalize greyhound racing in 1931. At its peak 11 of the 18 dog tracks in the country existed in Florida, making the Sunshine State the unofficial U.S. capital of greyhound racing.

Pari-mutuel betting facilities across the state have until Dec. 31, 2020 to halt live greyhound racing. The only facilities planning to hold races through the end of the year are the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club and the Orange Park Kennel Club near Jacksonville.

Casino Gambling

Three of the state’s racetracks are also home to casinos. These racinos as they’re known are popular destinations. As well, two casino cruise ships are in operation. They allow bettors to board luxury boats that travel offshore where gambling is technically not illegal.

There are also three casinos in the state and eight tribal casinos, all but one operated by the Seminole tribe.

"Gulfport Florida Casino" by VisitGulfportFL is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Jai Alai

A Spanish game in which players catch and throw a ball with a cesta, a long, curved wicker scoop strapped to one arm, betting on jai alai is popular in the Hispanic areas of Florida.

The Future of Sports Betting in Florida

In most states, the deal-making process that ultimately leads to legalized sports betting takes place in full view of the public on the floor of the state legislature. In Florida, the whole process must be negotiated in private through backroom deals.

Before any pact can be signed to enable the legalization of sports betting in Florida, a negotiated deal must be hammered out between the state and the Seminole tribe as part of a larger gambling compact involving the two entities.

After the two sides failed to come to an agreement on the issue in 2019, the Seminole tribe opted to withhold their annual gaming payment to the state, an amount that is usually in the range of $330 million.

A new compact between the two sides that includes legalized sports betting will need to be agreed upon before the Seminole tribe resumes these payments. The ball is now in the government’s court, so to speak.

In 2019, Florida Sen. Wilton Simpson worked out a tentative agreement with the Seminole tribe. However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to sign the agreement.

Recently, DeSantis has suggested that he wants to become more involved in the process and see if they can’t move forward on a deal.

At this stage, even if the two sides were to find common ground quickly, it’s unlikely that Florida would be able to legalize sports betting and have it operational in the state prior to 2022.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

Share this article with a friend:

Free eNewsletter SignUp

Sally's Place on Facebook    Sally Bernstein on Instagram    Sally Bernstein at Linked In

Global Resources

Handmade Chocolates, Lillie Belle Farms

Food411 Food Directory