Florida suffered yet another setback in it push for legal sports betting

People waiting for Florida sports betting to come alive once again continue to be disappointed. While there has been some glimmer of hope over the past month, things just took a devastating turn for the worst last week. Indeed, Florida suffered yet another setback in its push for legal sports betting to get done. That’s because the state fell way short of its plan to get signatures to present for the next ballot.

In case you missed it, Florida, powered by FanDuel and DraftKings, needed 891,589 signatures of approval to present to legislation to try and get a sports betting question on the state’s ballot for November of 2022. At the beginning of things, people were rushing to sign, as they really want to see things get settled with all of this sports betting drama. So, how did things end in the signature chase?

Well, not good. That’s because Florida received less than 500,000 signatures by the Feb. 1 deadline. As you can see, Florida fell way short of the goal and now things won’t be able to get presented on the next ballot. We don’t have to tell you how big of a bummer this is for folks across the state. Again, people are tired of the status of sports betting being completely up in the air. Why is this taking so long?

Now with this latest setback, no one knows exactly when the next positive steps will be able to be taken for Florida to rock full throttle with its sports betting plan. Last spring, Florida and The Seminole Tribe agreed to their massive 30-year deal, which was supposed to help things launch this fall without any issues. Following the lawsuit to prevent that from happening, everything has turned upside down.

What’s next for Florida sports betting after this latest misstep?

Now, everyone wants to know what’s next for Florida sports betting after this latest misstep? That’s really a tough question to answer. With things now looking like they won’t be on the ballot for later this year, that means that people might have to wait until November of 2023 for things to be presented. With that, it could mean that sports betting may not be legalized in the state until 2024 at the earliest.

Goodness, we don’t have to tell you how awful that sounds. Things have really gone from bad to worse in the state’s pursuits to get things rocking. Back in October, Florida was all set to launch sports betting, but things got moved to Nov. 15 because of the lawsuits that were filed in Federal Court. That November date was moved as well, though the HardRock did launch its online mobile betting app in quiet fashion.

That was up for a little while, but then the HardRock had no choice but to shut things down after the U.S. Federal Judge, who tossed out a previous lawsuit, then determined that Florida and The Seminole Tribe were breaking laws with their agreement. This led to sports betting in Florida being put on the shelf, which was something that millions of folks were against happening. How in the world was this possible?

There’s still some hope that the U.S. Supreme Court can step in and try and fix things, but again, that seems like a long shot at this point. All of this news has been awful to see for Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe. There was so much excitement for Florida sports betting. And while we’ve seen other states, including New York, go live with things, it’s now totally up in the air when Florida will do the same.

Florida continues to lose big with everything in limbo

With everything that’s going on, Florida continues to lose big with everything in limbo. It’s not just the fact that sports betting has been stopped and people can’t make their bets. Yes, we know this has an impact on tax revenues for the state, plus the estimated gain from lost bets. However, another important factor here is advertising. So many different companies were ready to advertise for sports betting.

Now, millions of dollars are being lost because of things being put on hold. Not only that, think of the amount of tourism that would have boomed all over Florida. In the major cities, adding sports betting and the opening of sportsbooks was going to give people yet another reason to make their way over. Now, people who want to plan vacations and love betting, are looking elsewhere.

Look at the Super Bowl for example. It’s always a great weekend for people to get out of town and enjoy themselves. People would have loved to go to Florida to enjoy the sun, while also making it over to watch the game and make some bets. Instead, that’s no longer an option and there’s no doubt plenty of folks who have decided to take trips elsewhere. This also impacts local businesses, which no one wants to see.

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis Jr. comes from Mississippi where he and his family spend their days discussing college football and basketball. He's written sports journalism for years after studying journalism at a local university.