Florida Sports Betting Could Be On The Table

  • Lawmakers are planning to discuss sports betting with the Seminole Tribe
  • Seminole Tribe has prevented gaming expansion in Florida
  • There are no bills being considered right now

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lawmakers in Florida are planning to negotiate with the Seminole Tribe about sports betting this legislative period.

A large number of states around the country have opened sportsbooks or they have introduced legislation that would legalize sports betting. Florida has been left behind and has done neither yet. That could change this legislative session as lawmakers are going to negotiate with the Seminole Tribe about the gaming compact between the state and the Tribe.

Negotiating A New Compact

Senate President Bill Galvano was the lead negotiator for the 2010 compact between the Tribe and the state. He has tasked Senator Wilton Simpson to work with the Seminole Tribe to come up with a new compact.

“Right now, from the state’s standpoint and speaking on behalf of the Senate, what is paramount is to see where we are ultimately with the tribe going forward,” said Galvano.

As sports betting is becoming more and more popular around the country, the Seminole Tribe is becoming more interested in the sports action. The fact of the matter is that Florida is in a position where having the Seminole Tribe control sports betting may be the easiest and most simple way for sportsbooks to open.

The Seminole Tribe’s Powerful Position

The Seminole Tribe has backed legislation that prevents Florida from expanding on gambling on their own terms. This past fall, voters passed Amendment 3. This measure stated that if there was an expansion on gambling or if a new casino wanted to be open, it must go to a statewide vote before it could happen.

This was backed by the Seminole Tribe as they put down $24 million in support of the amendment. The measure was a success and now any and all gaming expansion has to be voted on in a statewide ballot. The only catch is that this measure does not affect the Seminole Tribe. They are free to expand on their gaming operations as they see fit without a statewide vote.

They have also in the past successfully sued the state on any infringement of their gaming compact. Racinos were using a “designated player” system to allow them to offer blackjack to their customers. The Seminole Tribe sued in 2016 about this and they have won their court case, further cementing their position in Florida Gaming.

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