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Florida Representatives file legislation to legalize domestic sports wagering

Florida representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point), along with Rep. Anika Omphroy...
Florida representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point), along with Rep. Anika Omphroy (D-Lauderdale Lakes), is urging the state of Florida to legalize domestic sports wagering in an effort to address the budget shortfall.(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 2:39 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point), along with Rep. Anika Omphroy (D-Lauderdale Lakes), have filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in an effort to address the budget shortfall in the state.

In a press release, Rep. LaMarca said that the state must get “innovative” in time where many programs are facing cuts.

Thursday, Rep. LaMarca and Reo. Omphroy filed this legislation “because Florida has failed to bring legal sports wagering to our state.” The representative said that “We have an opportunity to keep that money here in Florida. Allowing online and retail sports betting to operate legally translates into millions in revenue. That’s money from Floridians that should be invested in Florida.”

Three bills, one to implement the policy, one to implement the new license and one to implement the new tax structure, have been filed.

HB1317 and HB1321 were filed by LaMarca, and HB1319 was filed by Rep. Omphroy.

Rep. LaMarca’s full statement can be read below:

As we grapple with a tough budget year and as many good programs are facing deep cuts, it’s time Florida gets innovative when it comes to keeping dollars in our state. This is why I will be filing legislation today to legalize domestic sports wagering here in Florida. Right now, Floridians are sending millions of dollars out of the state every year, mostly overseas to foreign countries, because Florida has failed to bring legal sports wagering to our state. We have an opportunity to keep that money here in Florida. Allowing online and retail sports betting to operate legally translates into millions in revenue. That’s money from Floridians that should be invested in Florida. Governor DeSantis has made it a priority to make Florida the destination for sports and tourism Capital of America. We have hosted two super bowls, a college football playoff national championship, and countless other major sporting events all within the last twelve months. Floridians and visitors alike demand entertainment choices. I look forward to working with all interested parties in the Legislature on a bill that makes Florida a major player in the online and retail sports wagering industry to help fill budget shortfalls. Bottom line? Safe and regulated domestic sports wagering is an industry Florida deserves.

Rep. Omphory’s full statement can be read below:

It is a privilege to file one of the three required pieces of legislation to bring legal sports wagering to Florida with Rep. LaMarca. This bi-partisan bill is exactly what Florida needs coming out of this economic crisis and pandemic. We need to boost our tourism and fill budget gaps for things like education and workforce training. Sports wagering can provide the funds that we are currently leaving on the table.

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