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Legal sports betting in Florida launches October 15th

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida

Florida is close to launching sports betting. Governor Ron DeSantis and the State Legislature approved a bill that is allowing the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to sports wagering in the Sunshine State. Rep. John Snyder said, “I think this is a great thing for the State of Florida.” Snyder made it clear that the compact was a top priority for Gov. DeSantis.

“For people who don’t want to see gambling expanded, this was a great opportunity to hold the line and say gambling and casino activities will stay in the current footprint.” Additionally, this news comes eight days after Arizona launched their sports betting. Arizonians were finally able to place bets in time before the 2021 NFL season Thursday Night Football kickoff.

At the moment, the only approved sportsbook in Florida will be the Hard Rock Sportsbook. This is the Tribe’s online sportsbook. While the Seminole Tribe have not yet declared an exact launch date for accepting bets, their target date is Wednesday, Oct. 15. This is the unofficial date for retail betting.

However, in person, bettors should be allowed to place bets on Oct. 15 at the Hard Rock Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa. This should not affect on-site betting. Though, leading up to this date, lawsuits are a major concern. This is quite the controversial subject for some folks.

Lawsuits could delay launch until November

The pending court documents could force a delay of the launch by at least one month. According to federal gaming regulations, the Tribe can only accept wagers on tribal lands, or process the bets on servers placed on tribal lands. All sports wagers, which include mobile and via online sites, must be placed on these said tribal lands. Nevertheless, Floridians want legalized gambling licenses for various sportsbooks and businesses in the state, not just for the Seminole Tribe.

Therefore, bettors are exhausted due to the lack of accessibility of sportsbooks in their state. In other words, people want more options to place bets. They want the Seminole Tribe to share the wealth. Many folks are fearing a monopoly in the state. Naysayers of the compact also feel it violates the Florida Constitution and federal gaming regulations. Voters feel their voices are not being heard.

On Friday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. ET, the Washington D.C. federal court will hear the case. The hearing is between West Flagler Associates and Gov. Ron DeSantis and Julie Imanual Brown. Brown is the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. West Flagler Associates is expected to file a preliminary injunction on online sports betting by Sept. 21.

The plaintiffs believe the compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. They are demanding that online sports betting should not be allowed off tribal lands. Furthermore, in the minds of many, this defeats the purpose of “online” betting.

Connecticut and Louisiana are next to launch

The state of Connecticut is expected to launch their online sportsbooks on Thursday, Oct. 7. FanDuel and DraftKings are the projected approved sportsbooks. Over one week ago, Governor Ned Lamont announced that the federal government signed off plans for sports betting and online gaming in his state. This is good news for the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox.

For another state nearing launch, Louisiana is not far off. Their retail betting is expected to launch in October as well. Their projected approved sportsbooks consists of FanDuel, Caesars, Barstool and DraftKings.

The state has 15 riverboat casinos — including four horse tracks for bettors — and in-person bets can be placed before mobile gaming goes live. Bettors will enjoy placing wagers on the New Orleans Saints, LSU Tigers and New Orleans Pelicans.

Maryland will launch in the fall?

Moreover, Maryland could launch as early as this fall, but this outcome is unlikely. Sixty online sports betting licenses are available. However, it will take months for businesses to earn their licenses. It’s a slow process. In the state, independently-owned businesses can serve gamblers.

They do not have to be partnered with a specific casino. Similar to New York, Maryland may change their launch date to January 2022. Plus, bettors will have fun placing bets on the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Wizards. Not to mention, the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers to win money.

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