By: Ernesto Rivero, Member-Candidate, J.D. Candidate, May 2020, St. Thomas University School of Law.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court struck down federal law that banned sports betting across the nation. The overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act now placed the power with each States legislation to legalize sports gambling within their borders. As a result, Florida legislatures now face a pressing issue on whether to join the bandwagon carrying four other states by legalizing sports wagering. Many argue it should be made legal what people have been doing illegally for so long – betting on sports. Another incentive is the large economic benefit as casino and horse betting generate roughly $28 billion in revenue per year, statistics reveal adding sports betting across the nation could boost that by as much as $41.2 billion per year.

Many states have already begun to seize the opportunity such as Nevada and New Jersey. While Nevada brought in $248.8 million from sports wagering in 2018, they also reported $17 million in tax revenue from sports betting. Although sports betting remains illegal in the nation’s capital, congressman for the Washington D.C have introduced a bill to legalize sports wagering. They contend the inclusion of sports gambling business will grant the influx of tax revenue to be used to fund governmental objectives: early-childhood care development programs, humanities initiatives, and the general fund. The legislatures plan is to tax sports betting by 10%, estimating over $20 million in tax revenue to the nation’s capital. Florida can mirror this strategy and allocate the tax revenue to continue the Florida Educational Enhancement Trust which is funded by the Florida Lottery annually.

With hundreds of millions sports enthusiast betting through Fantasy Football, fan duel, and other sport betting streams; the sports betting market is very much alive. Further, the addition can attract the tourism economy; and, as a sports fan, more exciting games for viewers. Legalizing sports betting within Florida will place them amongst front runners in the novel industry creating jobs and an immense beneficial economic impact. Should Florida sit on the sideline and learn from other states, or capitalize on the current popular market before other states do? I stand with the latter.