Gambling has always been a sore spot in the United States. Whilst there is no federal law that prohibits gambling in general, individual states differ greatly in their attitudes towards the industry. The states of Utah and Hawaii, for example, have declared gambling illegal. The legalization of sports betting in May 2018 by the Supreme Court has, however, changed a lot of attitudes as more states move towards more gambling-friendly stances.
As gambling becomes an incredibly lucrative industry through the development of the online gambling world, there has been pressure applied through many channels. As the online world continues to grow elsewhere, the US could well be left behind.
In many states, including Florida, laws on gambling can be tough and restrictive with sports and online betting heavily controlled and many land-based casinos licensed. But, there have been continuous efforts from senators and campaigners to change these restrictions, improving the chances of legalization and regulation in the near future. But, just how would this affect Florida?
Native American tribes tend to profit from gambling and the same can be said of the Seminole tribe in Florida which nets approximately $2.5 billion a year from gambling. Even non-tribal gambling groups hit the $500 million revenue mark in 2019.
Combined, this is a remarkable amount considering the limits placed on the industry by the state. Just imagine, therefore, if those restrictions were lifted. In fact, that figure would rise to an eye-watering $10 billion.
People can play an array of online games ranging from traditional roulette and blackjack, to free spins on the latest themed slots.
Though sports betting is not as lucrative as online casinos, it does still make up 20% of gross gambling revenues in those nations with complete legalization. With that in mind, legal sports betting in Florida could churn out as much as $500 million to a billion dollars a year. All in all, the gambling industry would generate an incredible amount of revenue for the Sunshine State.
Florida currently has a revenue-sharing agreement with the Seminole tribe, which amounts to around $300 million a year, but, even in 2019, the tribe decided to withhold their money from the state. This highlights the trouble that the government has had with tax revenues from tribal gambling.
A fully licensed and regulated online gambling and sports betting industry would provide the Sunshine State with a more reliable and larger source of tax income that could then be diverted into public spending.
Floridians can still gamble online with no specific law to stop them, with the law mainly concerned about stopping those wanting to create online gambling companies within the actual state.
Not only does this encourage money to leave the state, job growth is also stunted. Legalizing online gambling in Florida would substantially improve the chances of job opportunities for Floridians. Indeed, at least 30,000 extra jobs is the figure that has been touted which could certainly help a state with over 350,000 currently out of work.
With every pro for introducing gambling, there is of course the con of the issues that come with it. That, of course, includes problem gambling. More gambling facilities in Florida has been opposed because it would lead to a greater number of problem gamblers and thus a spike in social issues. But, if one looks at the UK’s example of providing well-developed safety nets and monitoring tactics, it does not have to be a huge issue.