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Florida Senator submits sports betting legislation


Florida Senator Jeff Brandes submitted three bills in the state senate to regulate sports betting in Florida on Monday (18 November).

The bills, SB 968, SB 970 and SB 972 would allow for sports betting organised both by the state lottery and by private licensees. Wagering would be offered both at retail locations and online, should the bills pass into law.

The first bill, SB 968, sets the general framework  for sports betting in the state. Under the bill, the Department of the Lottery would  be granted power to develop regulations governing sports betting, including setting a maximum stake for sports bets.

The bill notes that “a licensee may have individually branded websites for the purposes of offering a sports pool, each of which may have an accompanying mobile application bearing the same brand,” suggesting that multiple online skins will be allowed for operators.

SB 970 sets out the application fee for licenses, at $100,000, while SB 970 details the tax regime for sports betting operators in Florida.

Operators would  have to pay 15% of gross gaming revenue in tax, which would go to the lottery’s operating trust fund, which will go towards education and administrative expenses for the lottery.

In November 2018, Florida voters approved an amendment that means that any law to introduce sports betting in the state would require a referendum to come into effect. It could put the matter to voters at the November 2020 ballot, should the bill progress through the legislature.

Colorado has already used a referendum to ratify its sports betting regulations, while California looks set to pursue this path, with ballot measures proposed by Assemblymember Adam Gray and a coalition of Native American tribes.