Online Sports Betting in Florida –  Early 2023 Update

Legal Online Sports Betting in Florida

Everyone in Florida is still none the wiser about when online sports betting will become available. It’s been like this for some time now, and the legal status is like a tennis match with the back and forth of discussions and court hearings.

The thing is, it’s likely to get messier before things start to even out. Too much is on the table, and many operators want a slice of the sportsbook action.

Quick Recap of the Situation

The Seminole Tribe’s goal has always been to get a statewide monopoly on sports betting in Florida that no one else can touch. They succeeded in getting Governor Ron DeSantis to support the plan. The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state came to an agreement, and DeSantis was the one to sign the compact.

After DeSantis put his signature on the agreement, all the necessary steps were taken to make sports betting legal in Florida. It had been planned that the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Hard Rock Casino would be the only entities in the state that could offer sports betting.

Although the state government had approved the Seminole Tribe’s request to hand over control of the state’s sports betting operations, the fight had only just begun. 

In 2023, the push for sports betting in Florida will enter a new phase.

Here is a recap of the standout moments from last year:

  • Feb 2022: DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins concedes defeat after failing to get enough votes for a “proposed constitutional amendment” on the 2022 election ballot.
  • July 2022: The DC Circuit announces a briefing schedule in the Florida tribal compact sportsbook case, suggesting a 2023 ruling.
  • Dec 2022: Verbal arguments regarding Flordia’s online sports betting are heard by the DC Circuit, with a formal ruling expected in 2023.

Will 2023 Be the Year Floridians Get Full Access to Sportsbooks?

It’s possible that the federal government will be involved in the fight over online sports betting in Florida in 2023. It’s safe to say that Governor DeSantis and Joe Biden don’t see eye to eye on much. But they are both on the same page when it comes to getting a sports betting bill through the Florida legislature. 

Everything will depend on how the U.S. Court of Appeals decides the case. The disagreement between West Flagler Associates and the state and Seminole Tribe is getting worse, with the relationship deteriorating with each passing day.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that West Flagler Associates wants to be a part of the legal sports betting industry. If the $2.5 billion compact were to be approved, it would prevent them from taking online bets on sporting events, from the NFL to the NBA and more.

If the Court of Appeals decides that the lower courts were in the right and that there were no mistakes made, then the process will start all over again. The state and Seminole Tribe will need to concede, and the deal worth $2.5 billion will be over.

How Much Longer Do We Have to Wait?

Sports bettors in Florida shouldn’t panic, though. All this would mean is that Florida would need to draft a new sports betting initiative. The state will draft another bill, and this one will most likely involve other sports betting operators.

Keep in mind that Horse racing betting is available to punters, but only at off-track betting venues and legal trackside booths. So, all is not lost, but there’s a lot more to come.

But the reality is that we all need to take a seat and wait until those involved can finally sort this whole thing out. We have a feeling that we’ll be giving you more updates on this throughout the year, but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.


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