Sports betting could finally be coming to the Sunshine State following the signing of a historic compact between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe late last week.
The new 30-year agreement between the state and the Seminole tribe extends the tribe’s gaming exclusivity in the state and allows them to expand the gaming offerings at their seven casinos to include craps, roulette and sports betting.
The tribe also can deliver online sports betting to the state. In exchange for the expansion of their gaming offerings the tribe will make payments of at least $500 million to the state each year. (See Florida sports wagering history page)
Why is Florida sports betting closer today?
In a memo issued by Florida Senator Wilton Simpson announcing the agreement between the state and the tribe he estimated that the compact would bring in $6 billion in new revenue through 2030 through both sports betting and other gaming payments.
The agreement states that all sports betting in the state must be done exclusively through a sportsbook operated by the Seminole Tribe, or by one of its approved management contractors.
The tribe can partner with pari-mutuel operators to offer sports betting at their casinos and online. However, 55 percent of the revenue must go to the tribe. It will be interesting to see if any of the 35 pari-mutuel operators currently operating in Florida are willing to take that deal.
Despite the agreement being signed by the Governor and the Seminole Tribe, sports betting in Florida isn’t a done deal yet. The new compact must still be approved by the state legislature and according to some legal experts it may also face legal challenges.
There’s still another hurdle if it gets past the state legislature and the any legal challenges. Under federal law any agreements between state and Native American tribes on gambling compacts must be approved by federal regulators at the Office of Indian Gaming before they can take effect. It is possible that the federal regulators could reject the agreement and call for changes.
If that were to happen the state and the tribe would have to resume negotiations.