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Sports Betting Expansion in the US Continues as Florida Legalizes the New Form of Gambling

According to media reports, Florida will soon become the latest US state to allow sports betting within its borders. If a proposed measure is given the green light by the state Legislature, sports betting services will become available at casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe.

So far, more than half of the states in the country have already allowed legal sports betting in some form after the US Supreme Court decided to eliminate the federal ban imposed on this form of gambling by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Since Texas and California have not made sports betting legal for the time being, Florida would become the largest state by population to allow the practice in case the proposed measure is passed by the local Legislature.

Following the decision of the US Supreme Court to allow states to individually decide whether or not to make the new form of gambling legal within their borders, it is no wonder that the interest towards legalization of sports betting has been so big. Now, the state of Florida is set to become the latest state that would add sports betting to its legal gambling sector, with the expected revenue being about $500 million.

Florida Set to Become the Latest US State to Legalize Sports Betting

After months of negotiations, Governor Ron DeSantis reached an agreement with the Seminole Tribe, under which the Native American nation would become the state’s hub for offering online sports betting. Under the provisions of the 2021 compact, the two parties created a $2/5-billion revenue-sharing guarantee for the first five years of the agreement, after which Florida would get $6 billion in new revenues through 2030.

The new 30-year gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor DeSantis has restored the relationship between the tribe and the state and is expected to offer new opportunities for the pari-mutuel industry of the state, along with the provision of considerable new revenues flow for state’s coffers. Now, the Florida Legislature is required to give its approval to the compact, which is expected to happen in a special session.

Usually, Legislators take their time before allowing an online gambling or sports betting service within the state’s borders, so the permission for a sports betting app would be a big step for Florida. Currently, it is one of the most populated in the country and it is also home to a large number of major sports teams.

There are three National Football League (NFL) teams in Florida – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins. Florida also has two Major League Baseball teams, two National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, two National Hockey League (NHL) teams, and two Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. Apart from that, major college sports, especially football, have been extremely popular in Florida.

Since the US Supreme Court gave its blessing for the country’s gambling expansion, sports betting has been growing rapidly across the US. The addition of Florida to the list of states where sports betting is already legal would be an important step for the entire sector.

Sports Betting Services Rise in Popularity across US States

According to data provided by the American Gaming Association (AGA), revenues generated from sports betting in the country over the first two months of 2021 amounted to $576 million. The figure represented an increase from the $262 million generated in the same period a year ago.

Furthermore, the abovementioned figures do not include the annual 2-week March Madness, which is the largest individual betting event in the US. Back in 2019, the AGA provided an estimate that a total of $8.5 billion would be gambled on the events from March Madness. According to Vixio GamblingCompliance, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada were the three states that generated the largest sports betting revenues in the past 12 months.

The speed and the willingness with which gambling operators have entered the US sports betting sector has been remarkable but it has not been a surprise, as betting companies have been willing to get a share from the new gambling sector.

However, it is not only good news for the sports betting sector in the US. The executive director of the National Council for Problem Gaming, Keith Whyte, has warned that sports betting operators could be affected by stricter regulation in the country over some fears that the more relaxed gambling regulation could result in an increase in problem gambling rates.

More Partnership Deals Expected in the US Sports Betting Sector

According to the research firm Statista, almost 50% of the US population watch televised sports events at least once every month. This result comes once again to prove that the odds were already in favor of the sports betting sector at the time when the industry was officially expanded.

US media companies and sports leagues that have been particularly interested in boosting the engagement of the customer base, especially when it comes to so-called in-game bets – wagers that are placed on events that may or may not occur within a match, rather than on the match’s outcome. According to analysts, the companies’ desire to capitalize on the increase registered in in-game betting has led to a large number of sponsorship agreements signed between media businesses, sports teams or leagues and gambling operators.

Before the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow the expansion of the country’s gambling sector by the addition of sports betting, the major professional leagues in the US have been promoting themselves as fierce opponents of gambling.

In contrast, the sports leagues have been doing everything they can in order to get a share of the business, with the majority of leagues and sports clubs having signed contracts with gambling operators to license data offering and provide gambling platforms to consumers. Reportedly, legacy casino companies willing to purchase sports betting technology have been among the most active dealmakers in the country, along with some European gambling operators looking for further expansion in the US.

According to the managing director of Moelis & Company, Ramy Ibrahim, the sector would probably see further sports betting deals. He further noted that the investment bank has completed over 12 mergers and media partnership deals within the sports betting sector since the US Supreme Court issued its ruling in favor of the practice a few years ago.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.