Casino games and sports betting are topics that are never far from the front pages these days, both in Florida and across the country. Last year, Ron DeSantis was jubilant to see his new gambling pact passed by the Florida legislature. But the elation turned to deflation when it was overturned in federal court in November.
The pact covered various aspects of the game, but the main area of controversy was in sports betting. Sports betting on tribal land was one thing, but the pact outlined a “hub and spoke” arrangement whereby bets could be placed from anywhere in the state as long as the servers were on tribal land. It doesn’t take much to see how this could pave the way for online casino gambling. But unless the call scheduled for next month is confirmed, that could be a long way off.
A complex and evolving market
Online betting, whether on sports or casino games, is a big business in a growing number of states. There has been a sort of domino effect in that the legalization of one state has given its neighbors an added incentive to do the same, and this is particularly the case on the east coast. After all, New Jersey was the driving force behind the cancellation of PASPA in 2018. Today you can also play at real money online casino in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, Delaware and Michigan, while 15 other states have legalized esports. books.
The thing about the internet is that it has no concept of state or national borders. There are dozens of online casinos, and although they are not legally allowed to provide their services in the state of Florida, Florida players are not breaking any rules by using them. It’s a subtle but important distinction. In this online age, if people in Florida want to gamble online, they can and will find ways to do so. But while the provision of such services is officially prohibited, Florida will see no tax revenue.
At the same time, Florida gamers will have little protection from shady operators when forced to use offshore platforms, VPNs, digital wallets and similar measures to circumvent the system. This benefits no one and gives a clue as to why Governor DeSantis was so eager to push through the new deal.
Appeal the decision
The saga turns into a strange combination of dark house and Judge Judy, and the next episode will take place in April. It is then that the Court of Appeal will decide whether the appeal against the federal decision of last November can be heard or whether it will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
If the pact is not revived, it will not prevent sports betting in Florida per se. Hard Rock casinos are located on tribal land, so they can offer it in their facilities whenever they want. But it will drive a nail in the coffin of online betting.
As far as the Florida gambling community is concerned, well, they will continue to do what they are doing until a safer or more advantageous way of placing bets from a distance comes to the fore.