Florida voters will get to decide if sports betting will be legalized as the bill will appear on the ballot in 2020. The Florida State Lottery Commission will oversee sports betting if it passes on election day in June of 2020. Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes is the author and sponsor of three separate sports betting bills. The first Senate Bill is 968 (2020) which deals with sports wagering.
The second Senate Bill 970 (2020) deals with the various fees involved, and the third bill is Senate Bill 972 (2020) is related to the taxes, which calls for a 15% tax on various sports betting providers. If these bills pass, they are slated to take effect on October 3, 2020. Those closely watching these sports betting bills, say ‘the advocates for the bills do have some hurdles in their way.’
Florida Lawmakers Have Been Battling With The Seminole Tribe Which Operates Casinos
In the last few years, Florida lawmakers in favor of legalized sports betting have been locked in negotiations with the Seminole tribe. The tribe operates various casinos under a pact agreement with the state of Florida. Some lawmakers and advocates of the bills are fearful of possible fallout if the bills pass. The way the bills are written, they could pass without the approval of the tribe.
That could create some backlash, due to the power the Seminole tribe yields in the Florida State Senate. In past discussions, the Seminoles have said they maintain exclusivity when it comes to any type of gambling in the state, including sports betting. Their position has basically been the rule, without anyone raising a serious challenge to it. The tribe continues to be locked in a legal battle with the state. Due to ongoing legal issues that state has not been collecting any casino taxes from the tribe.
There Is Also Amendment 3 In The Way Of Sports Betting Passing In Florida
Amendment 3 states that casino gambling, can not move forward unless voted in by the Florida voters. The amendment it has been determined doesn’t interfere with tribal rights. The state has tried at various times to allow different types of sports betting like daily fantasy sports. Any attempts lawmakers have made towards getting sports betting passed, has been met with strong opposition from the Seminole Tribe.
Lawmakers in the state are treading very lightly as the proceed, the do not want to disturb the proverbial apple cart. They say more than likely they can find a loophole to get sports betting passed without tribal approval. State officials would like to be able to collect the monies owed to the state by the Seminoles. They want to try to improve relations so that in the future the fees can continue to be collected. Senator Brandes said, ‘he and other lawmakers will continue to hold discussions with representatives from the Seminole tribe about each of their goals for sports betting going forward.’ Brandes is hopeful that all issues can be ironed before voting day.