Florida Lawmakers File Three Bills & Push for Legalized Sports Betting

by David Burke - Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 1:54


Florida lawmakers have filed three separate bills that could see the Sunshine State establish a regulated sports betting industry.

Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca sponsored HB 1317 that covers the overall sports betting policy and HB 1321 that deals with licensing requirements.

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Anika Omphroy has sponsored HB 1319 that will establish a framework for taxing sports bets.

If passed, Rep. LaMarca’s bill HB 1321 will limit sports betting licenses to tribal properties, pari-mutuel betting locations, casinos, and pro-sports venues. The proposed bill will also allow licensees to open and operate betting websites and mobile apps.

The cost of each license will be $7.5 million up front $1 million for renewal each year.

Speaking of the bills, LaMarca said:

“As we grapple with a tough budget year and as many good programs are facing deep cuts, it’s time Florida gets innovative when it comes to keeping dollars in our state.

Right now, Floridians are sending millions of dollars out of the state every year, mostly overseas to foreign countries, because Florida has failed to bring legal sports wagering to our state. We have an opportunity to keep that money here in Florida. Allowing online and retail sports betting to operate legally translates into millions in revenue. That’s money from Floridians that should be invested in Florida.”

Rep. Omphrey’s bill sets a rather ambitious tax rate of 22.5% on all sports betting revenue less any winnings paid out to customers.

Rep. Omphroy spoke of her bill saying:

“It is a privilege to file one of the three required pieces of legislation to bring legal sports wagering to Florida with Rep. LaMarca.

We need to boost our tourism and fill budget gaps for things like education and workforce training. Sports wagering can provide the funds that we are currently leaving on the table.”

This marks the latest in a series of attempts to bring sports betting to Florida. However, as the state recovers from a significant loss of tax revenue due to the global pandemic, these bills may have a better chances than previous efforts.

David Burke

Reporter covering all aspects of sports, poker, regulation, iGaming business and more.