Florida’s sports wagering compact could trigger the US’ largest market

The compact agreement between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe could trigger the entrance of the US largest retail and online sports betting market, analysts suggest.

The agreement, which will serve as a sort of sports-betting gatekeeper as well as operate its retail online sportsbooks under the Hard Rock brand, must still be approved by the state legislature, and legal challenges to the deal have already been threatened. 

However, should it survive the obstacles, the state would join 26 others across the US, and Washington DC, that have approved regulated sports betting in some form. Twenty-two of those jurisdictions have launched.

“Assuming the industry launches with the current framework in place, there is little question that sports betting will drive a massive amount of revenue for the state,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayFL.com. 

“This is a unique design with no direct comparisons among markets that are already active. But with Florida’s large population, the brand recognition of Hard Rock, a framework that leaves room for more participants, and a reasonable revenue-sharing structure, Florida will have a higher ceiling than any other market to date.”

If the usual agreement does proceed, analysts state that Florida’s retail and online sportsbooks could generate between $8bn and $12bn per year, which could create more than $1bn billion in operator revenue. 

And with a 13.75 per cent revenue share from tribal operations and 10 per cent from pari-mutuels, sports betting could yield more than $125m for the state annually.

“The structure in Florida won’t be quite as ideal for consumers as a truly open and competitive market, with a robust roster of operators competing vigorously to attract their attention,” added Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA.com and PlayFl.com

“But unlike truly closed markets like New York or New Hampshire, the revenue-sharing structure leaves more room for the operator to create an appealing product and promote it. And Florida has so many positive attributes that the market should flourish.”

Florida and its more than 20 million residents would become the largest state to date to legalise and regulate sports betting, easily surpassing Illinois and Pennsylvania.