Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Wanna bet? It would be nice.

Super Bowl was thriller; Floridians (legally) had no wagering stake

- Chris Perkins

I enjoyed watching the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelph­ia Eagles in the Super Bowl without emotion, without a rooting interest and without a dollar on the outcome or anything affiliated with Sunday’s big game. It was stress-free athletic enjoyment.

That’s how I’ve watched almost every game in my life.

But that’s not how much of America watches games, especially the Super Bowl.

A survey by the American Gaming Associatio­n said a record 50.4 million Americans were expected to bet $16 billion on the Super Bowl. One reason for the 61 percent betting increase over last year’s survey is Kansas, Maryland, Ohio and Massachuse­tts legalized online sports betting since the previous Super Bowl.

I don’t bet on games, I don’t play fantasy football and I don’t have a favorite team.

OK, if I’m in Las Vegas I might place a bet on a game or two. Literally.

But as a Floridian, I would like to again have the option to gamble on every pro or college game, such as we had from Nov. 1, 2021, through Dec. 4, 2021.

And more importantl­y I’d like my fellow Floridians, the ones who enjoy betting, to have the legal privilege to gamble on every game (again).

We’ve already missed out on two years of quarterbac­k Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, and a 2022 season in which all three NFL teams in the state — the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonvil­le Jaguars — made the playoffs.

I probably would have made a money-line bet on the Eagles, and maybe made a couple of senseless prop bets, the kind of impulsive actions that make bookmakers large amounts of money while

also making them laugh and shake their heads.

It’s fun.

I wish Floridians had the opportunit­y to have such fun during the Super Bowl, but we didn’t.

However, help could be on the way. Eventually.

There was a Dec. 14 federal appeals court hearing on Florida sports gambling before a threejudge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.). In that hearing, the attorney for the Department of Interior said the state’s agreement with the Seminoles doesn’t break federal law and state law isn’t relevant.

A decision isn’t expected for a month or two.

The way it appears, Florida residents won’t have the legal privilege to bet on sporting events for at least a year.

So, sadly, legal sports betting is a long way from returning to Florida.

To me, that’s bad news and a multi-billion dollar missed financial opportunit­y.

I’m a laissez faire kind of person by nature.

I want legal sports gambling in Florida.

I know it invites an addictive element into the state.

I don’t ignore that.

However, in this case, I don’t think we should prevent something from being legalized because a small number of people would abuse the privilege.

I do agree any expansion of sports gambling should be voter-approved, as it says in an amendment to the Florida Constituti­on.

That is one of a few parts of this compact that spurred the legal challenges, as the case takes twists and turns through the court system, which is not known for its expedience.

So, we wait.

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