Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ landmark compact agreement with the Seminole Tribe could open the door to a retail and online sports betting market that would potentially be the largest in the U.S., capable of generating as much as $12 billion in bets annually, according to estimates by PlayFL.com, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

“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.”

The governor’s agreement with the Seminole Tribe, 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. But if the compact survives the remaining obstacles, Florida would join 26 other U.S. states and Washington D.C., that have approved regulated sports betting in some form. Twenty-two of those jurisdictions have launched.

Even with this unusual agreement, Florida could become one of the largest sports betting markets in the country, according to PlayFL projections. By the market’s third year, Florida’s retail and online sportsbooks could generate between $8 billion and $12 billion per year, with $10 billion annually a likely target. Those bets could create more than $1 billion in operator revenue. And with a 13.75% revenue share from tribal operations and 10% from pari-mutuels, sports betting could yield more than $125 million 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,” said 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.”

Among the market’s many attributes, Florida and its more than 20 million residents would become the largest state to date to legalize and regulate sports betting, easily surpassing Illinois and Pennsylvania, which are the two largest states to have legalized sports betting with populations near 13 million. Pennsylvania generated $3.6 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic-related shutdowns of major sports. Illinois has taken in $3 billion in bets since launching in July 2020. Only New Jersey and Nevada have generated more over that time.

In addition, Florida is home to multiple franchises in each major North American professional sports league, 13 universities with NCAA Division I athletics, the best-known NASCAR event in the country among other auto races, and multiple PGA Tour events. All of which will help boost local interest.

And every year sports fans travel to Florida for an unrivaled collection of college bowl games, NCAA Tournament games, baseball’s spring training, the occasional Super Bowl, and other high-profile events.

“The process to legalize sports betting has been unusual so far, but the appeal of Florida’s market is obvious,” Ramsey said. “Florida should be able to count on an unusual amount of action flowing in from other states because of its appeal as a sports tourism destination, bolstering what will already be the largest local customer base. As it stands now, there is no other market in the U.S quite like Florida.”

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