Originally published by NBC-2 News on January 13, 2024

As sports betting takes off in the State of Florida, there is a lot of excitement – and a whole lot of money the State could make from it. Enough state leaders are already looking at what they can spend it on.

Parks and waterways could be the real winner with two bills starting in 2024 hoping to turn part of the money sports betting makes for the state into research.

House Bill 1417 introduced by Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) at the start of the legislative session says the state needs to spend most of the money made. Senate Bill 1638, introduced by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast), goes further elaborating that parts of it need to go to environmental management and protections, including research.

SB1638 specifically invites collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University and the Water School’s research. The university would not comment on pending legislation.

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