Florida Seminole Compact Issues

  • The Florida Seminole Tribe has stopped paying the state of Florida based on their defunct 2021 gambling compact.
  • Deciding to stop paying the compact may violate the very same compact, and may cost them the exclusive right to offer sports betting in Florida.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Drama continues between the Florida Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida because of their now-defunct sports gambling compact from 2021.

The compact would have had the Seminole Tribe pay the state of Florida $500 million per month, which was then dropped to the Seminole’s paying Florida $350 million, and now results in the Seminole’s refusing to the state because of the unresolved 2021 gaming compact.

Compact Seems To Side With The State Florida

While the Seminole Tribe is not paying the state of Florida $350 million, it may be a good thing for them that they are putting the money into an escrow account that they control.

The compact that would have brought legal sports betting in Florida has many sections that seem to be just one word away from clearing the Seminoles of any necessary payments, but those wordings never happened. Instead, there were a couple of sections that clearly indicated the Seminoles will probably be forced to pay.

The most important section of the 2021 Seminole Compact is the second half of Section A of Part XIV. CONSTRUCTION OF COMPACT: SEVERANCE; FEDERAL APPROVAL reads:

“If at any time the tribe is not legally permitted to offer Sports Betting as described in this Compact, including to Patrons physically located in the State but not on Indian Lands, then the Compact will not become null ad void, but the Tribe will be relieved of its obligation to pay the full Guaranteed Minimum Compact Term Payment, as explained in Part XI, Section C.4(e). However, Payments due to the State pursuant to Part XI, Sections C and E of the Compact shall continue.”

The compact became unclear within that Part XI Section of the compact regarding how much payment is owed to the state, but it seems likely the payment is nearly $350 million because if not it would raise the question as to why they were ever paying that much in the first place.

Pressuring The State A Bold Move

There are two ways to really take the withholding of the payments by the Florida Seminole Tribe:

1. The Seminole Tribe is desperate to begin offering sports gambling and has an opportunity to put pressure on the state government (particularly Gov. Ron DeSantis) in an election year to fix any issues with the compact.

2. This is a risky play by the Seminole Tribe who may end up causing too many headaches for the state that they decide to work to bring legal sports betting to Florida in a way that includes the commercial sportsbooks that had previously been rejected by the state.

Either way, it seems to be a huge risk to just stop paying so much money and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the state, but the opportunity to be the exclusive sports betting option in Florida may be too much to pass up.

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