Florida getting close to legalizing sports gambling

Jacksonville will host UFC 261 on April 24, and Governor Ron DeSantis is making moves to get sports betting legalized in the Sunshine State soon.

Florida is poised to become one of the next states to legalize sports betting in the United States, according to a Thursday morning report from POLITICO.

The deal between Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida lawmakers and the state’s Seminole Tribe would open digital sportsbooks and expand the tribe’s gaming options. It would also permit certain gaming types at cardrooms.

“Multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations have told POLITICO that Florida is poised to approve a substantial gambling deal that could result in the nation’s third-largest state allowing sports betting at casinos run by the Tribe as well as other gambling facilities,” POLITICO’s Gary Fineout said.

If DeSantis can pull the deal off, it would be a major win as he heads into a re-election campaign next year. Former Gov. Rick Scott put together an effort to legalize sports betting, but it never came to fruition.

Sports betting would be allowed at the Seminole Tribe’s casinos and racetracks, as well as at other gambling facilities. All bets would go through the tribe, which would lead to a split in revenue.

The deal would also allow the tribe to expand its casinos to allow craps and roulette. A separate bill would let existing racetracks to offer gambling without having to run races. Those locations would be allowed to have rooms for designated-player games.

A Miami Herald report said the potential sports betting deal would also include online wagering.

There is expected to be pushback bases on previous attempts to legalize sports betting in Florida. The opposition could delay the implementation or force a voter referendum in 2022. There is a chance that actual sports betting would not begin until 2023.

For now, it appears to be a step in the right direction for Florida. However, there are a myriad of legal challenges with the Seminole Tribe and opponents of sports betting.

Negotiations are ongoing and no official deal has been reached.

“It’s as close as it has ever been,” one source told POLITICO.

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