Friday afternoon the 75-page agreement between the Seminole Tribe and Governor DeSantis was consummated. The comprehensive overhaul of gaming was announced as a win-win-win by the governor and tribal leaders.
Some key specifics include outstanding gaming violations of the existing Seminole compact would be settled with existing non-tribal operators able to operate as they have been. Also, sports betting would be enabled and the Seminoles would oversee all sports betting operations in Florida, receiving 10% of the net winnings of all other participating operators. Lastly, the Seminoles would be able to partner exclusively with out-of-state online sports betting services.
The creativity involving sports betting is the key to the deal. The Seminoles would get a piece of all sports betting in the state in exchange for dropping all existing grievances with operators of other gaming services, often at tracks, across the state. That’s key because the banning of greyhound racing in Florida has left those tracks in desperate need of other gaming operations.
Speaking of Constitutional Amendments, it was 2018’s Amendment 3 which created the need for the Seminoles to run sports gambling in the state. Under 2018’s Amendment 3, voters would have to directly approve gaming changes in the state. However, the Seminoles Tribal Immunity potentially allows them to avoid Florida’s constitutional amendment. I say potentially because legal challenges are already being planned. The courts will likely decide in the end.
For the state of Florida, this means an estimated increase in annual revenue to the state from the Seminoles totaling $500 million - $150 million over the previous agreement which hadn’t been paid out since 2018. With just a week left in the state legislative session, there will now be a need for a special session here we come.
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