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Online Sports Betting Goes Live in Florida
Governor Ron DeSantis sealed the deal in Spring this year and stated: “The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida”. When asked regarding the expected income, he added: “This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in revenue to benefit Floridians”. This exclusive deal will last for 30 years. Allowing the Tribe to provide sports betting in return for a minimum revenue payment to the State of $2.5 billion over the next 5 years.
The Seminole Tribe
The Seminole Native American Indians are known as the richest of all Indian Tribes, and there's a good reason for this. They were the first Tribe to construct a casino on Indian soil more than 30 years ago. They are now valued at several billion US dollars and can be classified as a bullish corporation.
The Tribe purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brand in 2006 after beating 72 other bidders. In 2016 the Tribe had its most profitable year and generated $5 billion from its 11 casinos, 23 hotels, and 168 Hard Rock cafes.
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Florida Online Sports Betting Timeline
- 2010: Exclusive rights are given to the Seminole Tribe to offer gambling in Florida.
- 2019: The Tribe leaves the 2010 Compact because of a conflict with racino operations and revenue. Florida no longer receives income from the Seminoles despite casinos remaining open.
- 2020: Senator Jeff Brandes files SB 392 which will allow legal sports betting in Florida.
- May 2021: Governor Ron DeSantis agrees to expand gambling in Florida with the Seminole. This will include online and retail betting. DeSantis signs the Florida sports betting compact.
- August 2021: Federal approval is given to the compact.
- August 2021: Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino file a lawsuit. Stating that Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland exceeded her level of authority by approving the compact.
- September 2021: The Seminole admit that the preliminary date for launching mobile betting in October is not likely. Further documents are filed with the Federal courts for a launch date of November.
- November 1st 2021: Sportsbetting is now live in Florida with the first launch of HardRockSportsbook.com
Online Sports Betting Revenue in Florida
In 2019 the Seminole Tribe withdrew its annual revenue from the Florida government, creating a $350 million shortfall. They argued that allowing racinos to offer card games violated the 2010 compact. The government's budget was further affected by Covid19 in the same year ultimately leaving a shortfall of $3 billion for the years 2020 and 2021. Lack of funds has had a huge effect on the peoples’ comfort as well as impacting the States operational capabilities.
Creating a sturdy sport betting industry within Florida is one potential way in which the State can begin to recoup funding. But just how much revenue can Florida look forward to receiving?
We can look to other States income to provide some insight. New Jersey's sports betting industry contributed greatly to the $59 million revenue generated in October 2020 which was its most lucrative month, whilst in November 2020 it raked in just over $50 million. Taking these figures into consideration it's possible that the Florida government could look forward to almost $1 billion in revenue per year.
Comparing Florida with Other States
When it comes to sports betting in the US, Florida pales in comparison because it is still so new. Looking at the likes of Pennsylvania's sports betting industry, which has generated hundreds of millions each year at the very minimum as well as West Virginia's sports betting which has also recorded success in recent years.
Florida is behind in its casino industry due to only having a handful of land-based sites dotted through its region. The Seminole Tribe is responsible for bringing in an average of $574 million per year since 2019. Whilst this is still a huge amount of revenue, let’s compare it to New York with a capital of $2.7 billion a year, or Missouri with more than $2 billion in profits. Florida's sports betting market has a lot of catching up to do.
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