In the 11th hour of this year’s state session, there was groundwork being laid for a new gaming deal that would address the concerns of the Seminole’s via the Seminole Compact and provide a path for expanded gaming statewide. The talk at the time was constructive. What happened when there wasn’t enough time to pull it together, wasn’t for the state’s budget.
In May, the Seminole’s informed the state that they would no longer be paying the monthly stipends via the Seminole Compact due to the state’s lax enforcement of rogue operators. That’s a minimum of $350 million the state isn’t bringing in annually via the compact. Governor DeSantis’s conservative budget illustrated the loss of revenue as he’s asking for a budget that only increases spending by 0.4%. Now granted, most of the constraint in the budget isn’t due to $350 million which is less than 1% of the budget, but it’s certainly a factor. It’s also another reason why there’s an increased likelihood that talk of expanded gaming with something to replace the existing, and now essentially defunct, Seminole Compact.
Anything that increases revenue to the Seminoles will be welcomed. That’s the trick in this deal. How do you increase the opportunity for the Seminoles while providing competition across the state? But smart and willing people can settle these details and I’d expect the most serious conversation to take place early next year. In fact, Jeff Brandes has filed a sports gaming bill for the upcoming session.
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