- The Seminole Tribe of Florida is seeking to legalize sports betting in the state.
- Under a proposed new compact, the Tribe would have exclusive rights to be the sole operator of legal sports bets in the Sunshine State.
- Estimates show that Florida could see $155.7 million in annual revenue if legal sports wagers were offered to sports bettors in the state.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pushing for legalized Florida sports betting by the time Super Bowl 55 rolls around. Talks are occurring on an informal level by members of the House and Senate that would allow the Tribe to offer the wagering on sporting events at their locations.
“The House and Senate have begun informal discussions on what a compact and gaming bill would look like,” said Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast).
The Road Block Between Florida And Sports Wagering Legalization
Governor Ron DeSantis, who took office in 2019, is against any type of expansion in gambling for the state. This would include gambling done on sports. In a former consent deal under previous Governor Rick Scott, the Tribe stopped their annual revenue payments in the sum of $350 million.
This was due to the deal putting horse racing, dog racing, and jai-alai under scrutiny when the Tribe wanted to continue with their original agreement.
The only way that sports betting would be introduced by the Governor who has voiced his opinions on being staunchly against it is to get back that revenue stream of $350 million from the other activities done by the Tribe. A new compact that would require the Seminole Tribe to continue payment as they once did would mean they’d need exclusivity on one of their offerings to patrons and sports betting could be that offering.
This could only further add to the revenue in the Sunshine State should DeSantis be open to the idea. Even after his approval, a new law would require a vote statewide. Any gambling issues need to be voted on by residents before they are allowed to move forward into law.
Under the proposed compact, internet and mobile wagering would be made legal. Committee members that are discussing the possibility of legalization are wanting to do so with a more modern feel which is where the inclusion of mobile sports betting comes into play.
“We’re going after the big items and, if we can agree to them, we’ll work on laying out the details and the policy,’’ said Rep. Mike LaRosa (R-St. Cloud). “Hopefully, we get something accomplished.”
Sportsbooks would be located within Seminole run casinos. The Tribe would offer other games at their locations and they would also be able to open lounges for the wagering on sporting events at their poker rooms within their dog tracks, at their horse racing tracks, and all of their jai-alai venues.
The Tribe would be receiving a piece of all revenue gained at pari-mutuels statewide with this proposal.
As these are informal meetings, there have been no formal plans made or documents to present to the Governor. However, if DeSantis is still against the idea, despite the revenue that will be gained, Floridians may need to wait until 2023 when a new Governor may be voted into office.
It seems unlikely that sports bettors in Florida will have legal sports wagers for Super Bowl 55. But maybe the Sunshine State will have legalized sports betting with a new Governor in office or if DeSantis changes his stance on the issue.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.