LSR Q&A: Rep. Chip LaMarca On FL Sports Betting Alternative Paths Forward

Posted on May 19, 2021
FL sports betting
Posted By on May 19, 2021

Florida’s special legislative session draws to a close on Wednesday, with one crucial vote remaining on FL sports betting. 

The House is due to vote on the gaming compact that includes mobile sports wagering in Florida.

It will mark the final hurdle for the compact after passing out of a House committee Tuesday. The Senate also approved it by a 38-1 vote.

Ahead of that crucial final session, LSR caught up with state Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Broward County, for a quick-fire briefing. 

LSR: It’s been reported DraftKings is lobbying against this compact. Does that suggest we won’t see an open competitive market as you hoped?

LaMarca: Everyone is lobbied up. I’d like more questions today about whether FanDuel, DraftKings and Barstool will actually be allowed to participate.

I support a fully competitive market. One thing that could be up for discussion is the 60/40 revenue split between pari-mutuel and tribes. I don’t know where the Seminole Tribe is willing to go on that.

I hope they make it as easy for people to place bets as possible. That means not having to go to a casino and having multiple platforms to use.

This is not a monopoly. There’s meant to be multiple platforms for people to wager through. That really expands the market and gives the tribe a piece of something extra. 

LSR: What happens if mobile sports betting does get stripped out of the compact by the federal government or a court, as some predict?

LaMarca: There are other ways to get this to market. The tribe says there is a $700 million black market in Florida, and if they’re even half-right, that’s a huge opportunity for the state. 

One option is taking this to a referendum. I think mobile sports betting by itself polls much higher than other forms of gambling expansion like resort casinos or iCasino. 

People understand this already happens on phones.

LSR: Does the compact get approved by the House today?

LaMarca: I believe so.

There will be significant votes against this because of social issues and because the governor (Ron DeSantis) supports it. But I think there will be enough yeses.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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