Having had a contentious history in recent years, iGaming is not currently legally permissible in the state of Florida. The controversial debate has taken numerous turns since sports betting was briefly made legal for Florida residents in 2021 – before legal challenges meant that iGaming was again shut down in the state.
This fluctuation in the situation is down to a number of factors – most importantly, the Seminole Tribe of Florida are engaged in an ongoing appeals court battle as they argue for their right to have control of sports betting – including online gambling – across Florida.
iGaming is therefore effectively on pause in Florida whilst this debate plays out in the federal appeals court. But could change be on the horizon for those Floridian residents hoping to get themselves tuned in to the iGaming world?
It’s unclear how long it will take for a decision to be made in this landmark case. Some gambling experts seem to think that iGaming could become legal in Florida at some point during 2023 – so a return to the newfound betting freedoms seen briefly in 2021 could certainly be on the horizon.
If iGaming is made possible once again in Florida, the state would be following a slowly growing trend as the US iGaming market is seeing some serious changes – take a look at the best West Virginia online casinos to get a sense of what’s been possible since the state of West Virginia legalized online sports betting back in 2019.
Back in 2021, the Seminole Tribe were briefly able to launch a mobile betting app thanks to a compact reached between the Seminoles and Gov. Ron de Santis, which meant that the tribe had exclusive rights to iGaming and mobile sports betting in the state. However, this short window for iGaming in Florida didn’t last very long – a little over a month in fact – before a legal battle began.
The federal lawsuit is based on an argument that any bets placed online are not necessarily taking place on tribal land – the internet is seen to be a separate location and market. Many are following this case closely as the outcome could have consequences for tribal laws in other parts of the US. Whilst the case plays out, all sports betting in Florida remains shut down, with many folks keenly awaiting a decision.
Ever since 2018, when the US Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on commercial sports betting, numerous states across the United States have been exploring and expanding their horizons when it comes to iGaming markets – New Jersey is another state which certainly springs to mind for many when thinking about recent developments in online sports betting legislation.
Many are keenly observing the developments in Florida’s case, as what happens in Florida could potentially, in time, be echoed around the nation.
It would certainly be a major development if this state, with its fairly tight regulations around online gambling, does move towards a more permissive approach to iGaming. As with most states in the US, Florida’s legislation around gambling is complex, varied, and sometimes tricky to explain – but to put it simply, at present no online gambling is currently legal in Florida.
State legislation on online gambling is currently hanging in the balance whilst the court appeal plays out. Despite this, Florida residents can still head over to many brick-and-mortar casinos in the state to place their bets and play most of their favorite casino games.
The outcome of this particular case may take years to unfold – or, as some optimistic gambling experts suggest, we could see a conclusion to the case as early as 2023. Generally speaking, many voices in the wider US gambling industry are confident that sports betting will find its footing in Florida by 2025 at the latest.
It would be interesting to see the impact this could have on Florida’s tourism industry, as well as the economic prospects of the state. It’s likely a conclusion will be reached soon, with many hoping for a decision this year.
So could iGaming be on the horizon for Florida? It’s tough to predict when we will find out for sure, but no matter what the outcome, this has the potential to be a landmark court decision for Florida, and for many other states in the USA.
If the case comes to the conclusion that online betting is not permitted, this could have major ramifications for similar situations in other states, and could potentially have a lasting impact on tribal laws throughout the nation.
But if the Seminole Tribe wins this one, iGaming will return to legal status in Florida and will be able to expand and flourish under more permissive laws. Make sure to stay in the loop on this one, as whatever the result, it will certainly be a game-changer in Florida and beyond.