When, in May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey regulating sports betting, many states began the process of introducing legislation to follow suit.
In Florida, tentative steps have been made to legalize betting on sports statewide, but as with many areas of the United States, it is proving a contentious issue. Gambling is still regarded as a taboo in some conservative circles, and opposition from Native American communities, who traditionally operate casinos and sportsbooks in many states, has led to a stalemate since the legislation was first proposed back in 2019. But with economies reeling from the force of the COVID-19 pandemic, potential tax revenue from regulated sports betting – which has proven to be substantial in other states – could be a decisive factor.
But, in case the Sunshine State decides to legalize sports betting, what apps will be available for bettors to use? Let’s take a closer look.
Current situation with sports betting in Florida
Sports betting is currently illegal in the state of Florida. But three bills filed in November 2019 opened up discussions about regulating wagers and found many backers. However, discussions came to nothing, with staunch opposition from the Seminole tribe, who operate Indian casinos in Florida. When negotiations fell through, the tribe decided to withhold its annual $330 million gaming payment to the state in 2020 – this added a sense of urgency to the process.
This year, 2021, it seems more likely that some agreement will be reached – Senator Wilton Simpson is now Senate President and has a good working relationship with the Seminole. Governor Ron DeSantis – an opponent of the legislation in 2019 – has now become more involved in the discussion. The process is likely to take until the next year to be resolved.
We mentioned the tax revenue that regulated sports betting brings into state economies. Looking at New Jersey as the benchmark example, you’ll see just why regulation is such an attractive option, especially in a time of economic downturn.
In January 2021, the state generated total revenue of $82.6 million – easily surpassing the previous revenue record of $66.4 million set in December 2020. The $82.6 million mark represents a 24% increase month-on-month and a 54% increase from January 2020. Sports wagers are taxed at 8.5% if they are placed in casinos and 13% if placed online.
Florida is a sports-loving state, and the numbers are likely to be in the same ballpark.
Florida sports fans
Of course, there are more benefits to legalizing sports betting than just taxes for the state. Florida hosts some of the most recognizable sports franchises in the United States, with NFL legends Miami Dolphins and NBA icons Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. Soccer, ice hockey, and baseball are also widely followed, and this means that sports fans will be able to wager on their team or liven up the action of neutral games.
Online sportsbooks will mean that even those without access to racetracks or casinos will be able to enjoy the action and potentially win some cash.
Online sports betting apps
But where can people who live in remote areas or are less mobile play? Fortunately, there are many apps ready to use whenever legislation is passed. Here are some of the best.
One of the biggest names in British online sports betting made the successful transition to Stateside with the launch of their New Jersey app, and if Florida does pass legislation it seems that bet365 likely to be a front-runner with fans. A wide array of bonuses and promotions, fast payments, and ease of use have made it a dominant part of the European betting landscape. Bet365 will most likely be one of the first ones to enter the market.
Bet MGM Sportsbook
With a dominant market presence across many of the states to introduce sports betting regulations, MGM offers boosted odds newsletters and special NBA/NFL/UFC promos for their existing customers.
Vegas giants Caesars are certain to be players in the Florida sports betting market. As well as all the classic casino games you’d expect from the name, a wide variety of sports bets are available on their app, such as point spreads, moneylines, totals, and futures.
William Hill USA
Another famous name from the United Kingdom, the William Hills app gives the bettor a wide range of sports to bet on as well as different types of bet, right in the palm of their hand. Fast payments and ease of use make this a firm favorite.
Sugarhouse Betting App
All sports (and casino games) are catered for by the Sugarhouse app, launched in New Jersey in the wake of the 2018 legislation. With a great range of bonuses and promotions, including money to play with upon sign up, it’s no surprise that the app is widely used.
The future looks tentatively bright for the legalization of sports betting in Florida. And with many apps ready to launch, bettors are going to be spoiled for choice.