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Report: Florida close to getting sports betting

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If sports betting becomes legal in Florida, could the Florida Panthers arena — the BB&T Center in Sunrise — have its own sports book on site? // Photo by @GeorgeRichards

Sports gambling is now in the mainstream as 29 states and the District of Columbia has legalized it. According to a report in the Miami Herald Thursday, Florida is close to finally approving legalized sports betting as well.

Per the Herald and its news partner the Tampa Bay Times, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state have agreed “in principal” to a deal in which the Tribe would be the “online hub” for sports betting in the state.

The state legislature could approve the pact next week although more legal hurdles could remain before it becomes official.

Local teams, as well as parimutuel tracks and frontons, could have sports betting at their venues as well.

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In Washington, D.C., for instance, a popular sports bar attached to the Capital One Arena is being turned into a sports betting venue run by William Hill.

Currently, kiosks and betting windows are open for in-person bets in a spot at the arena originally used for ticket sales.

Fans attending Wizards and Capitals games can go into the sports book and place bets or come by throughout the day. Sports betting is not limited to Washington sports teams.

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Numerous teams have agreements with sports betting properties including William Hill, DraftKings and MGM among others.

Fans in Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Colorado (as well as elsewhere) are already allowed to place wagers on sports games.

Ohio is reportedly close to legalizing sports gambling as well.

In February, the NHL announced a “multiyear strategic partnership” with PointsBet making it the “official sports betting partner of the NHL.”

Per the announcement, PointsBet will have “the ability to integrate the sportsbook operator’s content into live NHL game broadcasts across NHL media partners, including NBC Sports, NBC Sports Regional Networks, Altitude TV, and other potential future linear alignments.”

Bally Sports, which recently bought the naming rights to the former Fox Sports regional networks owned by Sinclair, is already planning to run live, in-game odds during broadcasts.

Graphics on games currently show a rolling scoreboard but that is said to be just a placeholder for gambling odds and the like down the road.

“As the sports betting landscape evolves at a rapid pace, we continue to develop unique, strategic alliances within the sports gaming industry,” Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer and Senior Executive Vice President said in a statement.

“Our partnership with PointsBet brings to life our collaboration with our valued media partners and we look forward to enhancing our fan engagement opportunities in concert with both PointsBet and NBC. We are proud to welcome PointsBet to the NHL family.”

In Florida, fans are expected to be able to place wagers on professional and collegiate sports.

If approved, there is a possibility fans in South Florida could not only place bets on their phones but from kiosks and betting windows placed inside BB&T Center, Marlins Park, AmericanAirlines Arena and Hard Rock Stadium as well.

While the Seminole Tribe would get a cut of all bets, teams and parimutuel establishments are expected to as well which would add to a team’s bottom line.

Florida Panthers president Matt Caldwell did not return a text looking for comment on whether the team would have interest in placing a sports book on site.

Parimutuel locations in Broward County include Gulfstream Park, Dania Beach Casino/Jai-Alai, the Isle Casino at Pompano Park and Mardi Gras Casino at the former Hollywood Greyhound Track.

There are also parimutuel locations in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties such as Magic City Casino at the former Flagler Dog Track, Miami Casino/Jai-Alai and the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Per the Herald/Times report, “industry estimates are that sports betting could be a $2 billion market in Florida.”

With teams in South Florida looking for additional sources of income, being part of legalized sports betting seems like a no brainer.

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