As FL Considers Casino Expansion, Advocates Want To Protect Against 'Problem Gambling'
Lawmakers are meeting in Tallahassee today to consider a major expansion of gambling in Florida. The compact between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe would allow residents at least 21 to wager on sports at seven casinos in partnership with pari-mutuel facilities. Advocates worry that the deal is more focused on generating revenue than adequate preventative measures and treatment. About 2-3 percent of Americans gamble to excess. About 15 percent gamble at at most once per week. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can allow sports betting.
The compact requires the Seminole Tribe to work with the Florida council to promote online resources and display printed material about compulsive gambling at its facilities. The rules for sports betting would restrict the game to those 21 years old and up, with mobile devices connected to servers on tribal land. Those 18 and older would be allowed to participate in fantasy sports contests. The compact also requires Seminoles to make an annual donation of at least $250,000 to the council. One in five people with gambling problems will attempt suicide.
No Casinos lobbies against expansion of gambling. John Sowinski, president of No Casino, says kids already have online betting apps on their smartphones in places where sports betting is legal. Sowsinski says it's a time bomb for addiction. Poll suggests that 76% of Florida voters think they should have the final say on this issue. No Cinos believes sports gambling could cause thousands of teens to have lifelong gambling problems.