The future of sports looks uncertain in Florida, especially after the legal developments which took place this past year. Florida sports betting has technically become legal since May 2021. However, it seems that players in Florida might have to wait a little while longer before online sports betting goes live in the state.
Sports betting was effectively legalized in May 2021 when the Florida House of Representatives signed a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe allowing them to go live with sports betting in Florida. The sports betting app went live via the Hard Rock mobile app on November 1st. Unfortunately for Florida players, after only a month, the Seminole Tribe has been forced to take down the sportsbook app after a court dispute.
The latest mobile sports betting initiative, supported by both FanDuel and DraftKings, failed to reach the number of required signatures in order to be placed on the November 2022 ballot. As a result, it seems that players will not see mobile sports betting going live until 2023 at the very earliest. That is, of course, unless something drastic happens to change this before the November ballots.
Potential Sites to Launch in Florida
There are already predictions about which sites will surely be launching in Florida, once the right time comes. With Hard Rock Sportsbook already having launched, even though it was only for three weeks, a number of other sports betting sites will certainly be close behind. Let us see, which other sportsbooks will most likely launch in Florida when the time comes.
- DraftKings – DraftKings is one of the U.S. leading sportsbooks at the moment, and is already live in a number of states. With their Daily Fantasy Sports site already live in the state, the operator should not have any issues launching in Florida once the opportunity presents itself.
- FanDuel – Just like DraftKings, FanDuel boasts a site that is already live in Florida. Considering that their DFS site is live in both Florida and many other states, FanDuel is another leading site that will surely launch in Florida, as well. They recently donated just over $4M to help Florida in its attempts to legalize and launch sports betting in the state. Which is a clear indication that they are preparing for the Florida launch as soon as possible.
- Caesars – Caesars is already a household name at this point given the fact being one of the top US online casino sites. In addition, the casino has acquired the William Hill sportsbook, so now they boast one of the best online sports betting sites, as well. With its size and stature, the operator will have no problem whatsoever launching in Florida.
- Hard Rock – Since Hard Rock was the first sportsbook to go live in Florida, with their November 1st launch, it would be safe to assume it will launch once again once the legal matters are settled.
Sports Betting History in Florida
Florida has been trying to legalize sports betting since March 2020, when lawmakers sat down to negotiate with the Seminole Tribe 10 days before the end of the legislative season. Unfortunately, a sports betting bill and agreement with the tribe were unsuccessful, leaving the matter to be addressed again in 2021. Finally, in April 2021 Governor Ron DeSantis signed a deal with the Seminole Tribe, which received approval from the Florida House in May 2021.
The deal was opposed in June 2021, by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber who issued a letter to the Department of the Interior. In this letter, he urges them to reject the deal with the Seminole Tribe. The District of Colombia followed suit in September, filing a lawsuit in the federal court, resulting in the proposed launch date of sports betting being pushed back.
Despite facing a number of legal challenges, Hard Rock went live with their mobile sports betting app in Florida on November 1st. One of these challenges proved to be successful, with the Seminole Tribe being forced to take down the app after being live for three weeks.
Their appeal was unsuccessful, and the state’s sports betting initiative was failed to be put on the November ballot. Now, customers in Florida will have to wait a little while longer before being allowed to sign-up either online or on mobile.
Support from FanDuel and DraftKings
FanDuel showed support by investing a little more than $4.3M toward the political committee Florida Education Champions. Thus showing their effort to broadly legalize sports betting in Florida through a constitutional amendment.
They joined DraftKings which has also shown its support in Florida’s attempts to legalize sports betting in the state. Now, the two are working towards securing places on the November 2022 ballot for sports and event betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities, and statewide.
It seems that sports betting in Florida has ended before it has even begun. However, sports betting fans should not lose hope, since operators are working hard on launching mobile sports betting as soon as possible. Unfortunately, due to legal challenges, Florida fans might have to wait until 2023, until they are able to place their bets.