Florida and Georgia File Sports Betting Bills
Online sports betting bills continue to flood in for the United States. We already told you about bills in Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Now, there are bills filed in Georgia and Florida. Also, the governors of Arizona and Kentucky both support legalizing sports betting.
Florida Bill Pre-Filed for Sports Betting
The Florida legislative session will not begin until March, but one matter to be considered will be sports betting. State Senator Jeff Brandes filed SB 392 in late December. The bill seeks to legalize sports betting in Florida. If legalized, the Florida Lottery will regulate the activity, meaning that tax revenue would go towards education.
The bill would prohibit bets from athletes, coaches, referees, or any person working for an athletic governing body. However, it is unclear whether this bill will gain any traction. Brandes tried to get a similar bill passed in 2020, but he did not include the Seminole Tribe. Currently, the Seminoles are the only group allowed to offer Class III gambling in the state. If this bill fails to involve the Seminole Tribe, it will likely suffer a similar fate.
Georgia Files Sports Betting Bill
Georgia is another state considering online sports betting in 2021. HB 86 was filed earlier this month and has bi-partisan support in the legislature. Known as the Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act, the bill would legalize online sports betting. Companies will be taxed 16% of gross revenue with proceeds going to the HOPE scholarship.
Four pro sports teams currently support the bill. The bill is estimated to bring somewhere around $100 million in revenue to the state. Since the bill has bipartisan support and is supported by the four major sports teams in the state, many figure that this bill is close to a slam dunk in 2021.
Arizona and Kentucky Governors Support Sports Betting
The governors of both Kentucky and Arizona have recently shown support for legalizing sports betting in their respected states. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has been proactive in his quest to legalize sports betting.
According to a report from KAWC News, Gov. Ducey has negotiated a compact with Arizona tribes to allow sports betting. Arizona tribes are the only groups allowed to offer gambling in the state at the moment.
According to Ducey, “Our goal is to bring Arizona gaming into the 21st century. A lot has changed since the first compacts were signed, back when cell phones weren’t the thing they are now. The world looks a lot different today and our proposal is intended to reflect the way people live their lives today.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is a known advocate of casino gambling and sports betting. He appeared on television recently trying to advocate for sports betting.
According to Beshear, “I believe the time was right years and years ago when virtually every state around us, all Republican states, already have it. The fact we haven’t done it at this point is not only silly but puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”
This rhetoric would slap in the face of recent statements regarding PokerStars. After a $1.3 billion lawsuit was reinstated against PokerStars, Beshear stated that the money would never be enough to make up for the harm caused to KY families.
So we are supposed to believe that sports betting will not harm families but online poker will? This is a very convenient take. Based on past history, it is unlikely that a Kentucky bill will gain much traction. A measure to legalize sports betting was filed in 2020 but failed to advance out of committee. Unless something drastically changes this year, we can expect the same for any new legislation involving sports betting in Kentucky.