Sports betting a wild card in Florida gambling debate – Tuscaloosa News
Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano said there is no interest among lawmakers to do anything with sports betting before the November elections.
By John Kennedy | Gatehouse Media
TALLAHASSEE — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that overturns a federal law banning most sports betting throws another wild card into the complicated world of Florida gambling.
But with voters getting a chance in November to approve a constitutional amendment making any expansion of gambling subject to voter-approval means sports betting might not come to Florida anytime soon.
“But I’m sure with this ruling, it will create some interest among the pari-mutuels, the (Seminole) Tribe and independent interests,” said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, the incoming Senate president who has been point-man for his chamber on a host of gambling issues.
The high court ruling, in a New Jersey case, is expected to spawn sports betting in a number of states looking to legalize and tax more gambling, at tracks, major hotels and other venues.
In Florida, jai-alai frontons, horse tracks and dog tracks have been pressing state lawmakers for years to allow more slot machines at their facilities. Now, sports betting could become another piece of the negotiations, which always play out against the backdrop of the state’s gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.
“This has big implications for Florida,” said Nick Iarossi, whose lobbying clients include Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, Melbourne Greyhound Park and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Inc.
“This is one more reason for the state to do something long-lasting to improve the gaming industry, among myriad reasons already out there,” he added.
At the Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club, officials said Monday’s ruling is pivotal.
“It’s probably the best possible scenario for states that want to engage in sports wagering,” said Fred Guzman, president and general manager of both