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Seminole Tribe and lawmakers are at a standstill about sports betting.

  • Legal sports betting needs to be backed by 60% of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to move forward with Legislation.
  • Currently, the state of Florida and the Tribe are at odds about a previous Gaming Compact.
  • The market for legally gambling on sports matchups could see as much as $155.7 million annually for the economy of the Sunshine State.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As talks continue about the legalization of sports betting in Florida, more roadblocks pop up. The Seminole Tribe of Florida would need to work with the Legislature in order to come to an agreement on legal sports betting in the Sunshine State.

Due to issues with their previous Compact, the Tribe did not pay Florida $350 million in revenue owed because they did not agree with their new Compact rules and wanted a renewal of their old deal.

Strained Relationship Between Florida And The Seminole Tribe

The Seminole Tribe wants to see legal sports betting in Florida, but only within their businesses.

However, due to an issue within their old Compact, they have yet to operate under a new one or anyone for that matter. Should they come to an agreement on paying the Sunshine State the $350 million in back revenue owed, only then would Governor Ron DeSantis consider legalizing sports betting.

The Governor has voiced his opinion on being against expanding legal gaming in Florida. But if the Seminole Tribe wants to include sportsbooks at their facilities, they will have to do so under a Tribal-Gaming Compact. They currently do not have one in their possession.

While the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been doing great business, expanding into sports betting could see double the revenue they already make for the state. Amendment 3 gives residents in Florida the right to vote on whether legalized betting on sporting events could become a reality.

Should the Legislature bypass the Tribe to legalize sports betting in Florida, they have said that they will try and sway the voters to their side. Senate Committee member Jeff Brandes has proposed FL SB 968 which would make sportsbooks at both Tribal and commercial establishments legal. Both retail and mobile applications would be legalized under this bill.

The Take-Away

The state of Florida has two choices when it comes to making legal sports betting a reality. One would be to go over the Seminole Tribe and move forward with FL SB 968 or the other would be to wait and see what the Tribe does about discussions on a new Compact.

But it would seem the Tribe is not up for discussing anything.

“It is premature to suggest that there is a negotiated agreement between chambers. Additionally, to my knowledge there have been no discussions with the Seminole Tribe since session last year, nor have we included any money in our budget from the Seminole Tribe,” said Senator Bill Galvano on Thursday, per his office.

 

“If, through discussions, there is at some point an agreement between chambers, then conversations with the Tribe may start. What has been reported thus far is chatter based on a lot of misinformation. Gaming negotiations are extremely complicated, and while I believe the efforts are worthy, it is also important to be realistic about where we are. As I said, it is premature to suggest that we have an agreement between chambers at this time.”

Florida has reached a stalemate on the issue of the legalization of sports betting in 2020. The Legislative session ends on March 13. There is a month left to figure out a compromise if the Sunshine State wants a chance of seeing legal gambling on sports in its future.

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